What It's Like To Go On A Kindness Walk
Every week, volunteers from all walks of life come together to show kindness and compassion to the homeless through local charity, Impact HK.
Founded three years ago by Jeff Rotmeyer, a Canadian teacher who has made it his mission to help the homeless in Hong Kong, Impact HK currently leads over 40 walks across Hong Kong in areas such as Tai Kok Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po.
In a new and ongoing initiative by Hong Kong Tatler to bring awareness to local charities, we invited Loui Lim, who's passionate about volunteering, to join a kindness walk with Impact HK and share his experience:
Keeping it simple
I first heard about Impact HK from a friend, and I loved the simplicity of the concept—walking the streets of Hong Kong with other volunteers to hand out supplies to the homeless.
I'd often thought that Hong Kong wasn't doing enough to help its homeless community. In our city, you can see such extravagant wealth everywhere, yet at the same time, you can also see people who are struggling to survive.
The kindness walk
The walk started at Impact HK's Guestroom in Tai Kok Tsui, which is a safe haven created for homeless individuals to collect supplies, receive counselling and socialise.
For the next 90 minutes or so, we handed out food, water and clothing to homeless individuals in the area. Along the way, we'd stop to talk to them, find out how they were doing, or introduce Impact HK to them if they weren't familiar.
We came across a lot of flimsy temporary structures under bridges and staircases (for those who were more resourceful) but the less fortunate were sleeping on the streets with just a cushion, mattress or sometimes even nothing.
The seriousness of their situation really sank in when it started to rain, and I thought of the recent typhoon, bad weather and the coming cold winter.
Follow the leader
Our walk leader was a Canadian-Chinese guy named Allan, who made the walk so much more meaningful with all the stories he shared with us. Although he leads a busy life with a job in finance, he still makes time to help out regularly at the shelter and lead kindness walks with Impact HK each week.
I finished the kindness walk feeling hopeful that there are kind souls out there who volunteer their time and effort in helping the needy. I was also surprised at how ‘normal’ most of the homeless people we came across looked.
These are just regular people who've fallen on particularly hard times—often due to a series of unfortunate events that left them unable to help themselves.
I would definitely encourage everyone to get involved in a kindness walk. Even if you can't find the time to join one of the organised walks by Impact HK, try collecting some supplies and/or donations of your own and passing them out to needy people in your neighbourhood. Just this small act can go a long way.
It's so easy today to get overwhelmed by the stresses of our daily lives and often, distracted by problems that we have created for ourselves. I find that volunteering is a good opportunity to step away from that mindset and see the world from someone else’s perspective.
It's also important to help those who are less fortunate because most of us have never had to worry about finding our next meal, access to clean water or a roof over our heads.
To join a kindness walk with Impact HK, register as a volunteer on Hands On Hong Kong's website and sign up for one of their 11 walks each week.
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