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How your gifts are transforming lives in Shanghai

ISSUE 15
AUTUMN 2020
Your gift will provide his only escape from the cold.

Your gifts reach the homeless hit by Covid-19

Lockdown took their jobs and homes, but your help gives them hope
Clean clothes offer a better chance of finding a job.

By Hanson Ye

On the surface, life is returning to normal here in China, but your support is providing essential help to those who are still struggling to survive in the wake of the recent lockdown. Temporary jobs in Shanghai are extremely hard to find, and new health protocols mean people can no longer use the hand basin in a public lavatory to bathe or wash their clothes. The result is a spike in demand for the services here at Renewal that are funded by your kind gifts.

Zhang Ming is grateful just for access to a washing machine, showers and our clothing exchange. “Walking around in dirty clothes makes you feel inferior,” he says. “Your confidence hits bottom and it’s impossible to find job.” It all makes life on the streets even harder than before. “For me, the pandemic has meant that I can’t make a living or afford to pay rent, so sleeping on the streets is my only option right now.”

Walking around in dirty clothes makes you feel inferior.

The good news for Zhang and many others is your amazing support. Your gifts are a lifeline to people who have no other help to meet their basic needs, so we and the people you reach every day are deeply grateful for you and the gifts you give. We are also very aware how much we depend on your financial generosity – and donations like clean, wearable, used or new clothes – to give people a better chance of finding work and making a new start in life.

Zhang Ming has a larger frame than most, so if you are wondering as some of our supporters do whether we can use large size clothes, the answer is “Yes!” In fact, whatever help you can send in this time of continued crisis for homeless people will make a huge difference – and be hugely appreciated.

I see the lasting impact of your kindness

Your help has never been so important

A story of desperation and hope

Tao Dezheng had no choice but to leave his family and search for work

His only escape from the cold

You can help the homeless hiding in plain sight

I see the lasting impact of your kindness

Hanson Ye and Jimmy McWhinney

I first want to say a very big “thank you” for your support during the Covid-19 crisis – and you might have been able to send a gift to be doubled during our recent matching grant campaign. The pandemic is far from over, and millions of people are suffering an economic impact, which makes me all the more grateful. Your help has never been so important.

During the national holiday last month, several of our graduates returned to the Renewal Center because they consider it their home. Zhou Yushuai told us he has made some good friends at his factory job in Ningbo. One of our other guys reminded us of the importance of family, saying, “Every holiday, it’s loved ones I miss the most.”

I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well at this time, and thank you again for your kindness during this global crisis.

A story of desperation and hope

Tao Dezheng had no choice but to leave his family and search for work
Your gifts mean Tao doesn’t have to beg for food.

By Jack Niu, Renewal Center Volunteer

In getting to know the people at the Renewal Center, I was struck by talking with Tao Denzheng, because his situation paints a real picture of why your giving has been so important during the Covid-19 crisis, and why people like him are so incredibly grateful. Tao, for one, would be in a very desperate situation without your help.

He comes from Jiangxi Province, near the city of Leping, about 600 kilometers away from Shanghai. People like Tao Dezheng are limited to a few different kinds of work: farming, construction and factory work. Even during a pandemic, people still need food produced by farms, but many people who work in construction or factories have lost their job in the wake of economic shifts resulting from Covid-19.

The situation in Tao’s home town got so bad that he had no choice but to leave to look for work. He scraped together about 1,000 RMB and came to Shanghai where he hoped to find a job so he could send money back to his desperate family. He is married with a child in school and two aging parents who both need care. But, he says, “The god of luck did not favor me. After the pandemic, even finding a temporary job in Shanghai is extremely difficult.”

If there was no Renewal Center, I would have to go out onto the streets and beg or rice.

This is very upsetting for Tao to talk about, and he tried to hold back tears as he talked about his home. “I have no choice,” he says. “No matter how hard it is, I have to try to find a job.” The good news is that, thanks to your support, the Renewal Center provides meals, showers and clean clothes to Tao and many others. “I am so thankful for the help of the people here. If there was no Renewal Center, I would have to go out onto the streets and beg for rice. When I’m hungry, I get so desperate I would steal if I knew how.”

Your kindness goes a long way each time you send a gift to the Renewal Center. Offering someone a hot shower and a free load of laundry costs very little, but something that simple can make a life-changing difference. “If you’re not able to take a shower for a long time, you feel the dirt. It starts to itch. But there’s no place else to wash, even with a hand towel, especially not in the city center.”

Despite everything Tao tries to stay positive. He hopes the economic impact of the pandemic will soon be a distant memory so society will turn to normal and he can find a decent job. In the meantime, Tao says he’s very grateful to you for the help he needs to survive.

Author profile

Jack Niu is a small business entrepreneur and enthusiastic volunteer for social causes who first came to the Renewal Center through our network of volunteers. Since that time, Jack has been talking with people here who are thankful for your help and want to share their struggles and victories with you. Through Jack’s involvement, we are thrilled to tell you more about how your giving makes a lasting difference in many lives.

His only escape from the cold

You can help the homeless hiding in plain sight
The Renewal Center gives Yan Shipin, 45, the confidence to look for a job.

That man sleeping alone in the airport concourse – is he waiting for a flight? You might be surprised to find that not only does he not have a ticket, he doesn’t have a passport, a wallet or even a few coins buy his next meal.

It happened to Yan Shipin, 45. He drops into the Renewal Center for the occasional hot meal, but also relies on the showers and clothing exchange to stay presentable enough to look for a job. In the meantime, he sleeps in the airport for safety and warmth – and because there’s less of a chance he’ll be told to move on.

Your gift will help the homeless hit by Covid-19.

My gift to meet basic needs

Yan used to be a part-time attendant in the public baths, but since they closed, he now scrapes together whatever money he can collecting plastic bottles to recycle. Your kindness makes a difference to him – and will have a life-changing impact on the next person in need. As Yan says, “The clean clothes I receive at the Renewal Center give me the dignity to ride on public transport and interview for jobs.”