In the past four months of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Soap Cycling has distributed hygiene kits directly to 3,500 front-line street cleaners, with the support of its volunteers and partners.
As the world welcomed the year 2020 with mixed feelings, grappling with the novel coronavirus outbreak, Soap Cycling, Asia’s first and largest soap recycling charity, was quick to respond. By late January, the Soap Cycling team was already reaching out to the community of Hong Kong to distribute essential hygiene products that were in short supply. There, they learnt that the city’s street cleaners were not provided with adequate protective gear or hygiene products.
From 7 March to 11 July, the “Soap to Cope” campaign saw Soap Cycling’s distribution of 3,500 hygiene kits to 3,500 street cleaners. With the support of its sponsors, donors, and volunteers, Soap Cycling was able to reach out to street cleaners at 83 refuse collection stations, to provide them with face masks, soap bars, and hand sanitizers.
“Street cleaners are among the most in need of these resources, as they risk their health and safety to safeguard the city’s hygiene while most of us get to stay at home,” says Matthew Mo, Warehouse Manager of Soap Cycling.
The Soap to Cope campaign would not have been possible without Soap Cycling’s sponsor, Lee Hysan Foundation; hand sanitizer donor, Ming Fai Enterprise International Company Limited; volunteer mobilization platform, HandsOn Hong Kong; hotel partners, Marco Polo Hotels Group, Kerry Hotel, Hotel Jen, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, and The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental Hotel; distribution partners, Rotaract Club of New Territories and Aspire Upper Room; corporate partner, Kirkland & Ellis; and the 281 volunteers from all walks of life.
Among the volunteers who helped distribute the hygiene kits to street cleaners were Hong Kong actors Andy Lin and Elaine Tang, who both urge the community to show more care and compassion towards the street cleaners – essential workers who are largely ignored by society.
“Street cleaners’ work puts them at a high risk of infection as used face masks are among the garbage that they have to handle every day. We need to take this appreciation forward, beyond the pandemic, and help eradicate the marginalization of these workers,” says Andy, whose appeal is echoed by Elaine. “Many of the street cleaners doing the thankless job of waste collection are senior citizens. Volunteering with Soap Cycling has made me realize the difference each of us can make through these small acts of kindness to the street cleaners in these challenging times.”
“Despite physical distancing and economic hardship, our volunteers and partners have come together to donate their money, resources, and time to help the most vulnerable in our society. Our hope is that this solidarity and desire to give and help will continue beyond COVID-19,” says Justen Li, Chairman of Soap Cycling.