Everyone knows the prevalent Bible story of five loaves two fishes feeding five thousands, but the five loaves refers to five loaves of bread instead of five biscuits in Chinese version. There are around 600 bakeries1 now throughout Hong Kong, that makes us wonder how many household can be fed indeed by surplus left from these bakeries every day? Every day thousands tonnes of bread or other leftovers are sent to landfills, so do we want to live on the “Bread Mountain” in future? Bread may seem to be an ordinary breakfast option or just a quick grab for filling our tummy, but with the high standard of living in Hong Kong, bread might be all affordable option for three meals for some grassroots. We surely should not look down on a tummy-feeding little loaf of bread, it can refuel energy for these grassroots to strive for their living while it is a staple food that provides sufficient nutrients for children, nurturing their growth.
Under the boiling sun, volunteers of Feeding Hong Kong arrived the warehouse after visiting several bakeries with many big or small bags. Even they sweat like pigs, they still wore a smile when taking out different shapes and various flavours of bread, sandwiches or salads they just collected; sharing to each other their fresh experience in getting full of returns. The warmth of bread seemed reflecting the passion of the volunteers while the aroma diffused as if to give them some cheering. On the other hand as a volunteer, I saw the whole long table was occupied fully by bread, sandwiches or salad, sometimes even a bread mountain being built. I am shocked that Hong Kong not only waste so much nutritious food, but also waste so many human resources or other resources to throw this surplus to landfills. Aren’t food are supposed to feed hungry tummies instead of filling the land?
Feeding Hong Kong is the only food bank in Hong Kong recognized by the Global Food Bank Network (GFN), it has been offering opportunities for volunteers to chip their 20 cents in killing waste and hunger via bread-collecting campaign called Bread Run since 2012. Everytime it aims to feed around few hundreds of household, and reduce 800 to 1,200 loaves of bread or other leftovers jumping into landfills approximately. Except public holidays or typhoon no. 8, Bread Run is held every Tuesday and Thursday. About 71 charities including shelters, elderly homes or institutions, institutions that serve low-income group, new immigrants or minority families and schools with lower budget etc. are associating with Feeding Hong Kong now. Examples are Hong Fook Elder Home, Youth with a Mission, Home of Love, Christian Action, Fresh Fish Traders’ School etc.. Regarding parties sponsoring Feeding Hong Kong right now, there are more than 200 food suppliers, supermarket or chain stores, roughly 5% of these are bakeries or chain stores that support this campaign. Despite around 200 to 300 bread runners currently squeezing their time to help, there is still need for more stable ones to actively participate in the long run in order to avoid situation of no rescue of any available surplus.
For ensuring food safety, bread or other surplus that arrives Feeding Hong Kong’s warehouse would stay overnight and being dispatched the next day to different charity organizations in need. Apart from that, Feeding Hong Kong would immediately conduct temperature test on samples of refrigerated items among these newly arrivals (except test on the surface, they would also pin in the food with a thermo probe); making sure the benchmark of temperature both inside and outside are reached. In addition, staff of Feeding HK would also keep an eye on the transportation time, ensuring the fridged items would be arrived at their warehouse within 30 mins. The warehouse is also equipped with large-scale refrigerator and professional refrigeration facilities in order to avoid any perishment of the donated food. In case of any damage in the package or any spoiled or cooked food, Feeding Hong Kong definitely would not distribute it to any entity. Feeding Hong Kong would prioritize in handling and delivering these food to the collecting parties.
Who wants to be a bread runner simply finish the mobile or online registration and pick any two or three bakeries or chain stores in 10 or more different districts. You can form a group with your friends to collect bread and sign up with one representative. For volunteer who are aged below 16 needs to be accompanied by either one of their parents or a guardian during the voluntary service. However for hygiene reason, volunteers are absolutely prohibited to take their cat or other pets in the Bread Run or enter Feeding Hong Kong’s warehouse. Prior to the run, prepare a few eco bags, call the selected bakery an hour before your visit to confirm if there are leftovers to collect; show the confirmation letter authorized by Feeding Hong Kong when you arrive the bakery, audit the quantities and types of collected items with the responsible staff, then transport them to Feeding Hong Kong warehouse or collection point3 for counting, weighting and categorization. Simple and convenient procedures, just free one night and pay a few visits with your legs, then you can do some exercise while devoting to charity at the same time, why not?
If you are not available on Tuesday or Thursday nights, there are other volunteering opportunities like introducing Feeding Hong Kong to some bakeries or food suppliers which have leftovers and providing them contacts of Feeding Hong Kong, so that more needies could benefit. If you are the owner of or working in any food suppliers, you can reach Feeding Hong Kong for further arrangement in collecting your surplus. Moreover, the warehouse also has irregular demand in packing or checking goods, interested parties can register online first for further arrangement. To run or not to run, is it still a question for you? But I gotta run with the hope to see you soon in the next Bread Run! Bye!
Copywrited and Translated by Volunteer Aileen Ip
Organization’s profile: https://socialcareer.org/#!/ngo/about/feedinghk
Organization’s volunteer jobs: https://socialcareer.org/#!/ngo/volunteering/feedinghk/600529
Feeding Hong Kong’s Website: https://www.feedinghk.org/
Feeding Hong Kong’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/feedinghk/
Volunteer Registration: https://www.feedinghk.org/tc/take-action/volunteer/
Bread Run Registration: https://www.eventbrite.hk/o/feeding-hong-kong-2684124262
- Data is according to the number of bakeries in 2016 Pleasant Environment Statistics conducted by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, HKSAR Government.
- Passed Best Before Date refers to date passed up to two months counted on the day the surplus arrives the warehouse of Feeding Hong Kong
- For volunteers’ convenience, there would be one collection point in Central once a month now.