Home Kong Kitchen has been on a roll and making serious dough! We’ve spent much of the past year turning our kitchens into mini-Hiroshimas and baking a difference to feed Hong Kong’s homeless!
The Mental Ideas initiative started as a response to news reports that Breadline and other food waste charities were struggling to feed the homeless during the 3rd Wave of the pandemic. The NGO, founded by Daisy Tam Diers, relies on food waste donations from cafes and restaurants to deliver bread to vulnerable people living on the streets, in shelters and refuges. But with cafes and restaurants operating restricted hours at low capacity, Breadline and other food waste charities were struggling to meet demand at a time it had never been higher.
So, after reading about their struggles and reaching out to Daisy, Home Kong Kitchen founder Sadie Kaye rallied a small group of neighbors together and what started out as the Baker’s Dirty Half Dozen began to bake our own and donate it to Breadline in weekly food drives.
As more and more bighearted Homekongers have joined our cause, Home Kong Kitchen has risen. We now bake, collect and deliver homemade breads, bagels and muffins directly to vulnerable people living on the streets, in unlicensed shelters and refuges most days!
We also collect supermarket-bought loaves generously donated by our growing community of bread donators from their homes (depending on quantity: many of our volunteers prefer to give in small community groups) and collection points all over Hong Kong! Since October 2020, we’ve donated bread and other gifts to ImpactHK every Friday.
Concerned by the amount of plastic we were using to wrap our home baked goods, we designed and created sustainable bread boxes out of recycled waste. Each bread box is illustrated with doodled designs by marginalized artists and inscribed with a simple message of hope and solidarity for our homeless friends.
In December 2020 we made and distributed nearly 300 Christmas gift socks filled with tasty treats, practical necessities and little luxuries to the homeless via the unlicensed shelters and refuges we regularly donate to and Hong Kong homeless charity ImpactHK.
Lunar New Year 2021 saw us break all of our previous records with a bumper delivery of food, clothing and other gifts for ImpactHK and a special event for refugees at Refugee Union, Cream Teas For Refugees! We have more special events planned for 2021, including baking workshops and exhibitions of our breadbox artists’ work. Follow us or keep checking this space for details of how you can contribute or attend!
We are also exploring the possibility of setting up our own online bakery where you can order our home baked breads, bagels, muffins and other goodies and we deliver it to your homes! We can’t promise it will be the best you’ve ever tasted, but we CAN promise that every cent we make is donated directly to homeless charities.
As HKK was initiated as a response to the struggles of food waste charities in the pandemic, one question we are frequently asked is ‘Once the pandemic is over, will you stop?’ To which we respond with a guttural laugh and a great big fat resounding “No way!!! We’ve barely had time to roll up our sleeves and have a good hunt for our pinnies!’
The pandemic has served not only to highlight but to heighten inequality in Hong Kong and globally. Our city is one of the most seismically wealth divided in the world. However much we do (and we’re not so away with the baking fairies to recognize that what we do barely registers as a contribution to a problem of this magnitude), it is never enough. The more we see, the more we learn – and the more we want to help.
There are many ways you can volunteer for Home Kong Kitchen. You can bake a difference as a home baker, you can make a difference as a bread donator, or you can create a difference as an artist on our sustainable breadboxes! Together, we can utilize our flour power and spread a taste of happiness. 💗