The Chan sisters know they have to stick together. The three young women have been ‘mothers’ to each other since 2002, when as children, they suffered traumatic domestic abuse and were sent into residential care. Living away from their natural parents, they learned independence earlier than most children, and when the older Chan sisters grew to adulthood, they were allocated their own public housing unit to attempt to leave their painful past behind and start a life of their own.

With such a difficult start to life, though, the Chan sisters didn’t have enough money to purchase basic furniture to fit out the house. They visited Crossroads and were able to select what they needed, from chairs to appliances, to small household items, grateful and relieved that this part of their burden, at least, was lifted.

In 2012, Crossroads impacted 13,716 people in need within Hong Kong: people like the Chans, who come to us referred by the Social Welfare Department. We are deeply grateful for this partnership and the opportunity to serve Hong Kong families and individuals at some of their most desperate times.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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It is hard to fathom the depth of terror in children who live with violent loved ones. The frightening shadow of their parent looms over their childhood, leaving them with no safe place. They learn, from a young age, to expect violence at any time and they fear that, when the aPeter Stepping into new lifenger goes too far, they might even be killed. For some, that death almost seems to offer a blessed relief from the searing pain of life.

Peter Chow*, a 17 year old Hong Kong teenager, lived with this nightmare under his father’s care. Every evening, he would dutifully return home and, as he opened the door in trepidation, he never knew if he would make it through the evening without his father attacking him.

It was the final blow when, one night, his father smashed a glass over the young man’s head. Peter knew he had to flee. Yet he was stuck between worlds. At only 17, he was technically almost an adult, but he had no income to rent a home of his own. Nor did he have the life experience to know how he should manage.

Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department came to his rescue. A case worker took him under her wing and got him safely out of danger. He was given welfare benefits that helped him rent a small room of his own. He now had a roof, and a safe place, but he still needed furniture and appliances to make it livable.

That is where Crossroads came in. His case worker brought him to us and we were delighted to see him choose his needed furniture and electrical equipment from our warehouse.

There are many things we love about this work. A day such as that, when we may play a role in creating a safe place for Peter and other minors like him, brings us a depth of joy too. It may be a ‘day at work’, but it feels like something more.

*Name changed

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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We were no doubt naïve, but we found it all too easy to assume that a prisoner, when released from jail, would feel unabated joy. For some, the readjustment brings bewilderment and confusion. After 20 years in prison, Mr Wong*, in his 70s, was one who struggled to re-enter normal life. For two decades, every decision had been made for him and Mr Wong now felt baffled and perplexed when even small choices were placed in front of him.

We met Mr Wong when he visited us with his Social Welfare case worker. ‘Shopping’ for such people in our warehouse is quite similar to shopping in a department store, except that we don’t charge them any money for the goods they take! Our staff took Mr Wong around the warehouse, showing him the variety of high quality donated furniture we had on offer.

It was clear, though, that even this was hard for Mr Wong. His case worker patiently helped him as he agonised over each decision, measuring to see what would fit and choosing the kinds of furniture that were most appropriate: a bed, cabinets and more. Finally, he left with a van filled with the goods and we rejoiced that, together, we had helped this man begin again.

At Crossroads, we love to work with the Social Welfare Department in cases such as Mr Wong’s, where the community’s most vulnerable are relying on help.

 *Name changed. Photo is a representation only.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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At 60, Mr Mak is nearing life’s end. He has battled lupus but, as well, has recently learned he is dying of cancer. The doctors have told him they can no longer do anything but help him manage the pain.

Cancer_patient

 

Before he became sick, Mr Mak worked as a welder on construction sites overseas and earned enough to support his wife, who is not Hong Kong-born, and three daughters. Now, though, he’s returned to Hong Kong for better medical care and is too sick to work. As a foreigner, his wife is not yet able to earn money so the pair is completely dependent on social welfare to survive each week.

He was granted a government flat, and advised by his social worker to come to Crossroads for his furnishings. At the time, he personally owned only a bunk bed and a fridge. Without any cupboards, he could only store his belongings in stripy bags on the bunk. With no couch, they could only use its lower bed as the one place to sit.

He came to visit Crossroads, however, and chose all his other furniture needs: a small couch, side table, two large cabinets for storage, drawers, chairs, a washing machine and other items. Later, one of our team visited and asked Mr Mak what makes him happy, day to day. He replied, “Having this lovely apartment and sitting by the window on my couch.” The gratitude and humility that radiate from Mr Mak are remarkable.

Mr Mak is one of thousands of people across Hong Kong who ask us for help. Each week, in partnership with the Social Welfare Department, we work with 40 or so people like him: individuals whom life has dealt a heavy blow and who need support. Each is worth cherishing and caring for, whether a young child full of hope and potential, or a quiet, humble man at the end of his life, with nothing left to give back.

How you can help

Generous donors of goods and funding keep our Hong Kong distribution department running each day.

Donate goods

We are especially in need of computers, rice cookers, microwave ovens, electric kettles and irons to distribute to needy Hong Kong families. Click here to donate any of these items 

Donate money

Just HK$250 can allow Crossroads to help ten people like Mr Mak. Donate by clicking here.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...