Friday, 22 December 2017

HK's Bank of Stationery

Joel Chung wants to help students get the supplies they need
I love stories where grassroots individuals come up with creative ways to help the community in a big way.

The Bank of Stationery is the latest one I've come across.

Joel Chung Yin-chai loves collecting stationery and usually scours old shops that sell old exercise books, pencils and such.

But the 52-year-old believes that underprivileged children may not have the right school supplies, hindering them from doing their best academically. And that's how he started Bank of Stationery last December.

Boxes of pencils and pens are collected
"One night I was thinking that Hong Kong has different types of banks for the underprivileged, such as food banks, clothing recycling banks and toy banks, but what about a stationery bank?" he said. And then he immediately set up a Facebook page called Bank of Stationery.

Chung has a 4,000 square-foot warehouse in San Po Kong where he collects items that donors have given him and packs items for those who want them. About 90 percent of the stationery are brand new, from big offices that have left over office supplies to individual donors.

One donor was a mini storage operator who gave boxes of pens after confiscating them from his tenant who was overdue in rent.

He claims in the past year some 100,000 students have benefited from his charity, using some 400,000 items.

Browsing through the Facebook page, there are pictures posted of packets of pencils, bundles of pens, staples, hole punches, exercise books, magazine holders, calculators and even mannequins for dressmaking, printers and a violin!

People reply back if they want the items and he holds them for the person until they come to pick them up.

Even a violin was donated and given away for free!
Chung hopes that he can help low-income families same some money on school supplies every month, though there is an environmental benefit too.

"I wouldn't say the stationery bank has been very successful, but at least tens of thousands of these brand new stationery items that would have ended up in landfills are now in good hands, benefiting those in need," he said.

So wonderful for students to have someone like Chung who wants to make sure they have what they need, and for people to have a place to donate these kinds of items. He's right -- there isn't a place to recycle stationery items and so glad he's made it a reality.

Several mannequins for dressmaking
Bank of Stationery
Block B, 1/F, Unit 1B, Wing Chai Industrial Building
27-29 Ng Fong Street
San Po Kong.

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