Tales of charity and philanthropy abound

An elderly resident of Jiading spends his pension supporting college students from needy families every year.

An elderly resident of Jiading spends his pension supporting college students from needy families every year.

Xu Hongxiang has been doing this for nearly two decades, although he gets only 5,000 yuan (US$740) every month as retirement benefit.

Xu has so far given away more than 200,000 yuan. He worked out a plan in 1998 to support two or three college students in need every year through the Shanghai Charity Foundation. The amount he chips in for every student had risen to 7,000 yuan last year.

Compared with the honors he has received, Xu cares more about the greetings and visits from students he supports.

Xu’s good deed suggests that philanthropy is not prerogative of the rich alone. Every benevolent act will converge into an upward force.

Li Huacheng / Ti Gong

Volunteers take part in a blood donation activity to spread love.

‘Let philanthropy be affordable’

A shop at the intersection of Tacheng Road and Xincheng Road sells donated books and children’s clothes.

Jointly operated by China’s first online charity shop Buy42.com and the Shanghai Charity Foundation, the offline outlet receives donations from more than 100 firms. Prestigious companies such as JD.com, Alibaba Group and Adidas are among the donors.

“For every 10 yuan the shop earns, 7 yuan is used for charity and the rest for daily expenses,” said Shu Jie, chief operating officer of Buy42.com.

“We hope to spread the idea of philanthropy to the community through the charity shop so as to change people from inside,” Shu added.

Both the volunteers and disabled shopkeepers share the same idea: Doing business is not their top priority; the idea is to influence more people.

The charity shop employs people with disability and tailors work positions for them. The cashiers and sorters are deaf and mute while the cleaners and distributors are patients with mild mental retardation.

Li Huacheng / Ti Gong

Residents attend a charity event in their community in Jiading.

In Shu’s opinion if everyone joins in philanthropy the world will be a better place — this being the essence of philanthropy.

To the west of the charity shop, there is a charity book cafe, where customers can read books while enjoying their coffee and desserts. For every 10 yuan they spend here, 1 yuan goes to serve Jiading’s philanthropy. “Let philanthropy be affordable and let more people be willing to do so” is the reason why entrepreneur Xu Jinjun launched the businesses.

Jiading plans to launch 96 philanthropic projects for community development this year, which involves 9.37 million yuan in sponsorship. More than 160,000 families in 193 local communities will benefit.

Already 66 projects in fields such as neighborhood renovation, environment improvement, spiritual civilization and charity affairs have benefited nearly 140,000 families in 157 neighborhoods, thanks to 6 million yuan in sponsorship.

Li Huacheng / Ti Gong

The scene inside the first charity book cafe in Jiading, where customers can read books while enjoying their coffee and desserts.

Community development fund

With the help of the community development fund, many neighborhoods in Anting Town have turned idle public spaces into leisure facilities for residents.

At some residential quarters, the entrance hall has become a public living room, with graffiti replacing illegal ads on walls, poker room evolving into a mini museum and abandoned lawn turned into a garden for residents.

The exercise yard at the Hongmei neighborhood has been renovated and turned into an exercise and recreation complex.

The old wall at Yulan No. 2 Village has become a screen for outdoors movie. Neighborhood clubs have been established at residential quarters, such as Zijing and Luyuan.

Along the footpath of Xin’an neighborhood, residents have drawn sketches on manhole covers. A library has been established at Xinyuan neighborhood.

These kinds of projects in Jiading now number 25 and they are helping restore ties among local residents as well as awakening their sense of belonging to a community.

In fact, the community development fund works not only in Anting Town but throughout the district.

In Jiading Town, Liyuan No. 2 Village upgraded its gas pipes through the fund to remove likely hazards.

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