Make midweek a winning session for charity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 September, 2014, 5:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 September, 2014, 5:23pm


You may not want or even need an excuse to drink, but Caroline Sprod, executive director of the charity HandsOn Hong Kong, can give you one.

September 17 is Drink for Good night, and you can help raise money to make the wishes of up to 500 children with special needs come true.

This isn't an argument for public drunkenness, though. "This is about responsible drinking," Sprod says. "It's about a lot of people having some drinks, not a few people having lots or overdoing it with the drinking."

Last year the event raised HK$100,000 in a single night, and the aim is to at least match that total this year.

This year's event is the second in which participating bars will donate HK$5 from each drink sold to HandsOn Hong Kong. As well as the usual drinks, some bars have agreed to create cocktails for the event, and more money will be donated when those drinks are ordered.

Corporate sponsors can also donate by sponsoring participating venues for the night and using them for networking events, at a cost of HK$1,000. Last year the South China Morning Post sponsored five bars.

A further opportunity to raise funds might come with a raffle, if the licence is approved in time. If so, more than HK$200,000 in donated prizes will be given.

The event was the brainchild of Sprod's husband, Ali Bullock, who has a background in marketing and promoting good causes. Bullock thought he might interest 10 or 20 bars in increasing their traffic on one quiet Wednesday night. Last year 60 bars participated; this year, it will be about 80.

The event has also spread internationally, from Hong Kong's SoHo to those in London and New York, all on the same day. "There will be 36 hours of drinking for good," says Sprod.

Hongkongers can also drink for the cause in Sheung Wan, Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai and Quarry Bay. A branch of Woolloomooloo Prime in Tsim Sha Tsui is also participating, as it is being hired by a corporate sponsor.

The aim is not just to raise money, but also to attract volunteers and put them in touch with causes. Last year the group took 100 special-needs children to Ocean Park. This year they'll work with up to 10 schools, including those run by Po Leung Kuk and the Red Cross, if they raise enough cash.

The plan is to send children to the Lunar New Year flower market, among other trips. Sprod says schools lack the manpower needed for the trips. Taking 80 children with special needs on a day trip requires not only special transport, money for lunches and souvenirs but also at least 80 volunteers, or one per child.

The organisation also finds volunteers to help projects for children, the elderly, refugees, ethnic minorities, animal welfare and environmental programmes.

HandsOn Hong Kong volunteers will help the event run smoothly on September 17, but "they're not allowed to drink on duty", says Sprod, who has been in Hong Kong for seven years.

Sprod joined the organisation, which was founded in 2007, two years ago after a 20-year career with the British diplomatic service.

For a full list of participating venues, go to