Mailman Delivers to Those in Need
Updated: May 30, 2019
A tremendous thank you to the entire Mailman team – in our latest clothing drive, we were able to collect and deliver a large and generous donation to families that are in need of anything they can get.
Now, I’ve donated clothing before, as I’m sure you have too, you take your unwanted belongings to the large collection bin, toss them inside it and from there…that’s where the story ends. This time we were given the chance to see where these donations actually go and how grateful the people that receive them truly are.
An announcement was made to the office for everyone to bring in their lightly worn clothing, and the response from people in the office was tremendous.
Within the week we had a room full of donations. The pile grew in the following two weeks, with people continuously bringing in items.
But this was only half the work. From there, our volunteers went through everyone’s dirty laundry (just kidding, clean clothes only) to sort them by type and size. We wanted the families to be able to quickly find the right size for them – and of course, presenting them with carefully folded clothing was important to us.
Delivering the Donations
I must admit when I volunteered for the job, I wasn’t sure where we were going, so I was quite surprised to find that we were personally delivering the clothes to the family’s homes. We had five tightly packed boxes to deliver and a 40-minute car ride to Baoshan, on the outskirts of the Shanghai.
Although I was told the story of the family, their situation was incredibly emotional.
The family of four had their way of life turned upside down around a year ago when the youngest boy (3 years old) had an accident involving a fire; he had burns to his entire body and head. They had to uproot their lives to move to Shanghai to get better medical care in a bigger city. With their medical expenses, they could barely afford any other luxuries, not to mention the basic costs for living.
The family now walks 30 minutes and takes the train for 2 hours to get the boy his needed medical care and procedures, after the treatment the turn back around and do it all again to get home. In the heat under the hot sun, his burns cannot be exposed to direct sunlight so this trek really does take a lot from them.
This is just one of the many stories of the families. Each family has its own story, and different difficulties in their lives they are facing.
Their Home This story may have seemed bad enough for the family, but due to large medical expenses they are unable to afford basic housing. All four sleep in one bed, which is in their one bedroom apartment. No kitchen, no bathroom.
All this being said, this family couldn’t have been in higher spirits, and welcomed us into their home offering us bottled water and stools to sit on. Due to the building having shared kitchens and facilities, there was an overwhelming sense of community with everybody looking out for each other.
The kids ran down the hall knocking on doors for other families to also take some of the clothes, but most of the families were out working during the daytime and would only return later that night past 10:30PM after they got home. We felt incredibly proud to donate the clothes to the families and their appreciation really humbled me.
Final thoughts from Grace:
This experience has not only benefited the families, but also those of us that were there firsthand. Walking away from this experience, we were forced to look introspectively and could not help feeling grateful for all the things and people in our lives. It’s enough to make one think twice about taking things for granted; the petty complaints we make and whether they are warranted. It’s incredible how we all live in the same (not-so) small city but it felt like we were worlds apart.
Final thoughts from Vanessa:
As clothes donation box is uncommon in China, used and unwanted clothes goes directly to the trash can, and that is what I did. But everything changed after we donated the clothes directly to the family, I saw a living example of the quote “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. It never crossed my mind that my unwanted stuff could actually be a big help and brings so much joy to so many people.
Final thoughts from David:
It’s unbelievable how 4 people could fit in a merely 10m2 room with only a bed and a refrigerator. Despite the hardship they are facing, I didn’t hear a word of complaint. Instead, the whole family still keep their hopes high and maintain a very positive attitude towards life. I believe they can face any of life’s obstacles together and will lead a remarkable life.
Thanks again to the whole team at Mailman Group for coming together to help others in need. We hope this is just the beginning – we will continue our CSR efforts to help those less fortunate, bit by bit.