Monday, November 03, 2014

#crazyhashtag40HKDaDay and an easy way to be a food volunteer in Hong Kong

#crazyhashtag40HKD dinner, $20
A few of us food-loving people who like to call ourselves #crazyhashtagfoodies decided to try spending no more than HK$40 a day on food. This is around the amount that those below the poverty line have to spend daily.

Us "foodies" are the type of people who spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about what to eat for our next meal, rather than worrying about if we'll have a next meal at all. I'm saying this not to boast, but to emphasise that we're the fortunate ones. Hong Kong has the greatest gap between rich and poor in the world, and that fact does not make me proud of the city I was born in.

For me, the point of this $40 a day "challenge" was to truly experience how hard it is to live on such a tight budget, and yes, you could say that that's about as effective as "disaster tourism", but I do believe in the power of raising awareness and going beyond donations and volunteering*.

*Although I have made food volunteering a part of my life, like doing Feeding Hong Kong Bread Runs, and have done it with the #crazyhashtagfoodies bunch too. Keep reading below for more info.

#crazyhashtag40HKD lunch, $9.9
Plus, and I don't want to sound like a pretentious, "soul searching" airhead, but being on a food budget has already impacted my mindset. I had always thought of myself as a relatively mindful person when it comes to food waste, but that is mostly for ecological concerns and general appreciation of produce. Tonight, while trimming vegetables for dinner, I was extra careful because I wanted to make sure I maximised each ingredient so I would be full. I was scared of being hungry, and this was just day one.

And if you think $40 a day is easy, thinking "what are these people whining about" etc., consider that food budgets are just the beginning. Many of our city's poor live in cage and coffin homes, with very limited or no access to cooking facilties. On my first day, I spent a total of $29.90, but I skipped breakfast (not on purpose, just happened to have worked through it) and I made lunch and dinner at home, with a range of kitchen equipment and time (precious if you need to work most waking hours to afford other things, like rent).

Snippets from the Feeding Hong Kong Bread Run. Collecting bread, taking it to Yau Tong, dropping it off at the warehouse. Easy!
If you care about food issues, an easy way of volunteering - not saying you're all lazy, but I'm a practical person, and I know most that people need to ease into things like this - try going on one of Feeding Hong Kong's Bread Runs. There are heaps of locations around town from which to pick up bread, and the drop-off is easily accessible by MTR. You can read all about one of our Bread Runs on HKFashionGeek, and on Feeding Hong Kong's own site here.

Aside from Feeding Hong Kong, here are some other food/hunger charities in Hong Kong to check out:
Food Grace (in Chinese. It's an initiative of HK Federation of Women's Centres, so you can also email: foehk [at]
Food Angel

If you're interested, you can see the breakdown of food costs for my meals in my Instagram posts (I'm @e_ting, as usual).

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing initiative! Thank you so much for doing it and for talking about it. Keep us updated so that maybe, just maybe one fine day we can muster up the courage to do something similar.