It’s that time of year again, when florists can put their kids through college on the amount they make from a dozen roses, and restaurants lay on depressingly similar menus for two of smoked salmon starters, fillet mignon main courses, and desserts of chocolate mousse – for prices that’ll have you choking on your “complimentary” glass of nameless bubbly.
There are many reasons for not wanting to mark Valentine’s Day in the conventional way. Maybe you and your other half feel like doing something more worthwhile than splurging on chocolates and jewellery. Maybe you’re happily single and turned off by all the commercialised exhortations of romantic love. Or maybe you’re proudly queer, or aromantic, and feel excluded by the idealisation of heteronormative relationships.
[See more: 5 places to donate used clothing in Macao]
In these and many other cases, there are meaningful options for marking Valentine’s Day besides simpering in a candlelit bistro with your date. You could get together with friends, cook a meal for family members, have a spa day or plan the ultimate movie marathon.
You could also try giving some love where it’s needed most. Whether it’s donating money, or volunteering your time, there are many ways in which you serve those in real need – and these are some charity organisations in Macao that could use your help.
Caritas is a global Catholic charity. The local branch, Caritas Macau, was founded by Fr Luis Ruiz Suarez SJ in 1951 and has nearly 900 employees working in its social service unit and about 200 in its education service unit.
It offers multiple services in Macao, from operating shelters during severe weather, to distributing food packages for people who are unemployed or are on low income, running health schemes for non-resident workers, operating suicide prevention hotlines and more.
Macao Foundation Caritas Transit helps people with disabilities navigate the staircases in walk-up buildings, while the “Good Take Express” helps people with disabilities travel from one place to another.
As well as donations, Caritas Macau accepts volunteers through its Friends of Caritas programme.
Macau Red Cross
The Macau Red Cross – formerly the Portuguese Red Cross – was established in 1922. It proved vital during the 1940s Pacific War, when an influx of refugees entered the city. The charity provided them with food, shelter, clothing and medication.
Volunteering is the backbone of the Red Cross movement. The Macau Red Cross welcomes volunteers who want to receive specialised skills training and make new friends.
Address: Alameda Doutor Carlos D’Assumpção, No. 255-263, China Civil Plaza, 3rd Floor, Macao
Phone: (853) 2831 3003 / (853) 2831 3024
Email: [email protected]
Social: Website/ Facebook
Tung Sin Tong Charitable Society
With more than 100 years of history, the Macau Tung Sin Tong Charitable Society first started by providing food, clothing and medicine for the needy. Today, Tung Sin Tong has expanded its facilities and operates multiple educational facilities and medical clinics for those in need.
The Macau Tung Sin Tong Charitable Society’s overall goal and service is to help the poor with medicine, education and care for the children and elderly. It documents its work at the Tung Sin Tong Historical Archive Exhibition Hall.
Holy House of Mercy
The Confraternity and Fraternity of the Macau Holy House of Mercy, today known just as the Macau Holy House of Mercy, was founded by Bishop D. Belchior Carneiro in 1569. Located at the heart of Senado Square, the Catholic charity’s historic white building is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, the Holy House has a wide range of services. It runs the Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind, Our Lady of Mercy Home for the Elderly, and a creche established to provide preschool education in Chinese and Portuguese. It also helps families or individuals who need financial aid.
As well as performing charitable works, it runs the Museum of the Holy House of Mercy, housing an important collection of Catholic relics from the 16th century.
ARTM was founded in 1993 to support the social reintegration of formerly drug-dependent individuals. It works in the areas of treatment, prevention, harm reduction and policy advocacy.
With two treatment centres, ARTM provides detoxification and rehabilitation services, a needle and syringe programme, a harm reduction program and a reintegration support department.
It also started the Be Cool Project, which focused on alcohol, drugs and other preventions for people aged 11 to 29.
Family members are also entitled to get counselling from ARTM’s qualified team members. Click here to get more updates from their Facebook page.
Address: Centro Reabilitação de Tratamento de Ka-Ho, Estrada de Nossa Senhora de Ká-Hó, Coloane, Macau
Male Centre (853) 2887 0117 or (853) 2887 0118
Female Centre (853) 2888 2414 or (853) 2888 2474
Email: [email protected]
Dating back to 2003, Anima was the first animal protection association established in Macao. It started with ten dogs and five cats waiting to be adopted. Today, Anima has around 400 dogs and 300 cats waiting for a home.
Address: Alameda Doutor Carlos D’Assumpção, No. 255-263, China Civil Plaza, 3rd Floor, Macau
Phone: (853) 28715 732
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
Macau Association for Stray Dogs and Animal Welfare
Established in 2014, the Macau Association for Stray Dogs and Animal Welfare (MASDAW) was created to save stray or abandoned dogs and help them find a home.
You can help by donating to the association or joining one of their regular community walks. Individuals and businesses are also welcome to participate either as a sponsor or volunteer. Click here to see the dogs available to take on a stroll or adopt. You can also read testimonials from owners and volunteers.
To keep yourself updated with MASDAWs’ upcoming events, check their Facebook page.
International Ladies Club of Macau
The International Ladies Club of Macau (ILCM) was established in 1982. The non-profit charity organisation holds multiple events yearly, like fundraisers, festive lunches, karaoke nights, charity bazaars, workshops and even fun activities at elderly homes.
Cradle of Hope Association
Run on Christian principles, the Cradle of Hope Association (COHA) provides a haven for children and teenagers. The association has 70 full-time employees and works closely with Macao’s Social Welfare Bureau, Health Bureau and the Education and Youth Development Bureau.
COHA gives educational, social, cultural and moral assistance while managing two residential homes in Macao – fostering children up to 18 years old. It also provides counselling and therapy for single parents or families in need of help with their children.