Happy Chinese New Year Eve! We’re barely a day away from CNY 2020. If you’ve got your spring cleaning and CNY shopping in full gear, good for you! Though if you haven’t, you’re really not the only one. Amidst packing, buying and clearing this CNY, here’s a special suggestion from us to you: give back as you give away and give more as you buy more!
With that, here’s a list of initiatives and social enterprises to consider supporting as you unpack and revamp for CNY 2020!
1. Have Your Pre-Loved Clothes/Shoes/Linen Collected For Free: Greensquare
Who & what: Greensquare is on a mission to double the percentage of recycled textiles in Singapore from 7% to 14% by 2020 (that’s this year!). As part of their commitment, they provide free textile collection and recycling services to local households/organisations. The collected recyclables are then sold to second-hand textile importers in various developing countries. Greensquare’s closed recycling loop helps conserve natural resources, reduce environmental pollution and promote reasonable pricing for clothing/footwear (in developing countries).
How you can give back: Greensquare only accepts clean clothes, clean and wearable shoes, clean household linen (e.g. bed sheets) and accessories (e.g. belts, bags). In order to arrange for a free collection from your home/organisation, you would need a minimum weight of 15KG. If you have less than 15KG of donations, drop them off at any of Greensquare’s convenient drop-off points located islandwide!
2. Get A Socially Conscious Manicure With No CNY Surcharge: The Nail Social
Who & what: The Nail Social is Singapore’s first socially conscious nail salon that strives to provide vocational training and employment to marginalised/vulnerable women in Singapore. The salon prides itself on a self-sustaining model; a portion of its profits go towards the social support and services offered to their staff.
How you can give back: The Nail Social’s lush, cosy space offers a complete menu of manicure and pedicure services, all using non-toxic, eco-friendly, fair trade and/or cruelty-free products. Sit back with a personal iPad, drinks and bites on the house, or even a complimentary glass of wine (only on Fridays, Saturdays) while getting your nails primped, all for a worthwhile cause.
PSA: The Nail Social does not have any CNY surcharge on their services! So if you’re looking to glam up your nails for CNY, you know where to go. (But regardless, you bet we’ll be popping by the next time we need a mani/pedi!)
3. Shop Small Gifts For A Big Cause: INSPO By Ashraf’s Cafe
Pictured: Ashraf’s Cafe (left) & Mdm Faraliza helping one of the young students of MIJ with a relaxing massage to help with ‘melt-downs’.
Who & What: INSPO is the product and services arm of Ashraf’s Cafe from My Inspiring Journey Special Education Hub (MIJ). MIJ was founded by Mdm Faraliza and her husband as a holistic training, care and intervention center for special needs students. The little gifts sold by INSPO such as bath salts, cookies and notebooks are handmade by MIJ students including Mdm Faralina’s son, Ashraf, who has Autism. Proceeds from INSPO sales go towards raising funds for MIJ and their programmes!
How you can give back: INSPO has frequent pop-ups around Singapore in lieu of festive events. Keep updated on their latest booths and offerings here. Alternatively, you may also find a selection of small gifts at INSPO’s cosy retail space, located next to Ashraf’s Cafe*. We think their affordably priced handmade favours would make such lovely gifts, that keep on giving!
*Find Ashraf’s Cafe at 168 Changi Rd, Fragrance Building.
4. Give Your Pre-Loved Home Appliances A New Home: MINDS Shop
Who & what: MINDS Shop is a thrift shop run by MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore). This initiative serves as a valuable training platform for MINDS trainees to learn retail and customer service skills. It also provides a meaningful space for us to interact with MINDS clients (and vice-versa!).
How you can give back: You may drop off your donations at any of the 3 MINDS Shops located islandwide, with the exception of MINDS Shop Plus@NTUC Healthcare. Refer to this list for recommended items to donate, as well as donations that MINDS Shop does not accept. While dropping off your pre-loved goods, shopping at MINDS Shop also helps to empower the trainees and supports a more sustainable lifestyle — all while stealing a great bargain!
Who & What: TIMELESS is a collection of resin earrings handmade with real, sustainably sourced flowers. For the month of January, 100% of the profits from TIMELESS will go towards the Australian Red Cross to aid the bushfire crisis.
How you can give back: TIMELESS is stocked exclusively online at Thrifty Thieves. Each piece is one-of-its-kind and delicately made. In particular, the amber blooms from their newest arrivals are especially CNY-appropriate. We can imagine them being an elegant, exceptional touch to any outfit!
6. Bakes For A Good Cause: Flourpower
Who & What: Flourpower is a local bakery with a special purpose. The social enterprise provides special needs individuals and those recovering from mental illness a safe, happy space to acquire baking and workplace skills. All of Flourpower’s delightful bakes are handmade with care by their staff and without artificial preservatives, flavouring or colouring.
How you can support: Every order made is an opportunity for the Flourpower staff to practise their skills and gain confidence. The bakery’s menu is filled with delectable treats at very affordable prices, from muffins to tea cakes and tarts. Besides, their selection of cookies (e.g. earl grey, butter and green pea) would be a great addition to the CNY goodies table!
PS: Remember to order three days in advance, as everything is baked fresh!
The season of abundance is upon us and a good time to spread fortune to those in need. Even better, make this Chinese New Year the start of giving back whenever and however you can!