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From Scout Project to Social Impact: The Story of The Toiletries Project

Updated: Apr 19



Scouts Unite: Building a Movement 

For two decades now, we've been on a mission to collect airline kits and hotel toiletries, sparked by our then 14-year-old son James' quest for his Eagle Scout qualification in 2003. Looking around our home, we realized we had piles of airline kits and hotel toiletries due to our extensive travels. Likewise, we couldn't ignore the homeless crisis in Hong Kong, a cause close to our hearts due to James' uncle's involvement in alleviating their suffering. So, we decided to reach out to the wider community and request airline kits and hotel toiletries to help those in need. 


The project began in earnest that year, with a collection drive put out to an extensive network of friends, family, business, and social connections. Soon, our living room overflowed with striped bags brimming with essentials, which meant that a number of the Eagle Scouts were put to work on the weekends unpacking the kits and refilling them with socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, eye masks, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and razors. 


Even after James left for boarding school in Canada, requests for donations continued pouring in, compelling us to sustain the project on a smaller scale, fueled by personal contributions and support from our network. And so, in December 2011, we registered The Amber Foundation as an NGO (S88) in Hong Kong. In September 2014, James returned to Hong Kong and rejoined the organization to support The Toiletries Project.

 

Scaling Up: A Warehouse of Hope 

Currently, we have approximately 18 Collection Points all around Hong Kong and have also run collections in Macau. Additionally, we’ve worked with partners in North America to develop their own spin-off of the project to collect in cities across Canada and the USA. 


We also expanded our group of Charity partners, so we now have approximately 40 charities to whom we distribute the repacked and repurposed toiletry kits. These include women in shelters, refugees, the homeless, ex-addicts, domestic workers and various other marginalized groups. 


Over the years, many companies have run collection drives for The Toiletries Project, resulting in thousands of donations from business or social travel. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Amber Foundation has also started taking large-scale donations from corporations seeking to responsibly manage close-to-expiry products, ensuring their proper utilization and minimizing waste. 

In 2024, after 20 years of running a home-operated NGO, where the influx of donations had become overwhelming and limited scalability, The Amber Foundation made the strategic decision to move the operations to a dedicated warehouse and office in Kennedy Town, marking a crucial step forward in our expansion and operational efficiency. 

 

Coming Full Circle: James Takes the Helm 


And now, 20 years after his Boy Scout project, James has assumed the position of Managing Director at The Amber Foundation, showcasing his remarkable expertise cultivated through years of dedicated involvement in the NGO and E-Commerce sectors.  


With his exceptional background, James brings an unparalleled blend of knowledge and visionary leadership, positioning him perfectly to propel The Amber Foundation to unprecedented achievements and success. His appointment marks a pivotal milestone in our journey towards greater impact and growth. 


Today, The Toiletries Project is a beacon of compassion and empowerment in Hong Kong. Through partnerships with corporations, schools, and charitable organizations, the initiative continues to touch the lives of thousands, providing essential hygiene products and a glimmer of hope to those facing adversity. As the journey unfolds, The Amber Foundation remains steadfast in its mission to create a brighter, more inclusive future for all. 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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