Retail with a Cause: Local charity sets up thrift store to help the homeless

Between the protests, the coronavirus epidemic, and the general realities of living in Hong Kong, you’d think that Hongkongers would be a pretty jaded lot. And sure, we have a reputation for being a little brusque (let’s just say we’re not exactly competing with Thailand for the title of “Land of Smiles”), but there are plenty of Hongkongers doing amazing things for each other in the face of hardship.

Take for example 1ofaKIND, a thrift store and cafe in Yau Ma Tei that was recently opened by ImpactHK, a local charity that’s devoted to helping our city’s growing homeless population. We’re massive fans of vintage shopping — it’s an affordable, eco-friendly way to buy unique or hard-to-find items — and we’re thrilled to have a new option in town that isn’t just kind on the earth, but kind to the local community.

Through 1ofaKIND, ImpactHK has created jobs for homeless people in Yau Ma Tei while simultaneously giving them valuable retail experience. The warm and welcoming space also serves as the NGO’s second Guestroom location, which offers street sleepers a comfortable and safe place to wash and change their clothes, get their hair cut, or just put their feet up for a bit. Visitors can help themselves to food and refreshments at the community fridge by the entrance, or give a donation at the drinks bar in return for a cup of tea or coffee.

The colorfully decorated store is covered in wall-to-wall murals by Hong Kong-based artists and packed to the rafters with cool vintage items sourced through Redress, the local environmental NGO, and brand new samples from French clothing brand Kiabi, to name a few.

The next time you find yourself in Yau Ma Tei (or in need of a wardrobe refresh), consider rifling through the racks at 1ofaKIND instead of defaulting to fast fashion favorites — your wallet and your community will thank you.

1ofaKIND, Shop 8, Man Wai Building, 2-24 Man Wai Street, Yau Ma Tei

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