KUALA LUMPUR, NOV 30 — It’s that time of year again. Secret Santa time (especially when more and more of us are returning to office) where we buy gifts for unsuspecting recipients.
There is a delicious delight in not knowing what you will receive but also comfort in knowing you will receive something.
What about those who don’t have that luxury of knowing, who can’t be sure of where their next meal is coming from? Christmas is also traditionally a time for charity (‘tis the season for giving, no?) and we would all love to be able to lend a helping hand where we can.
The wonderful folks at Hinode Bento, a Japanese style bento box purveyor, feel the same and are launching a 1 For 1 Christmas Bento campaign as their way of giving back to the community.
The team — comprising Kian Tee, Kuan Woo and Jackson Ngew — will pledge to match every Christmas bento set purchased from December 1, 2021 till January 2, 2022 (or up to their 1,000th order, whichever comes first) and deliver to needy children at various orphanages and refugee homes from December 18 onwards till January 5.
To ensure accountability, Hinode Bento will also update on their social media once these Christmas bentos have been sent to these children. Truly, ‘tis the season for giving.
Kian explains, “We’ve just turned one and we wanted to bring to life what the brand stands for, to send out some sunshine and happiness. (Hinode means ‘sunrise’ in Japanese.) We saw a posting on social media about how donations to charities have dropped dramatically during the lockdown period, so we decided to do this in conjunction with Christmas and put a smile on the faces of underprivileged kids.”
The idea of this Christmas gift set is that customers can send a gift to these children that isn’t just a meal but also their greetings and blessings. Kian says, “This way you are a Secret Santa to an underprivileged kid out there.”
It’s about delivering happiness, to borrow the famous Zappo mantra.
And as a brand that started during last year’s lockdown period, Hinode Bento has focused on delivery from its very inception. Kian is philosophical about the change in dining patterns: “After the lockdown was lifted, people are looking to dine out more while the amount of delivery orders have decreased.
"Since we have a small space with limited seats for dining in, we would like to encourage people to send this Christmas bento to their loved ones as a gift of love.”
That notion strikes a strong chord with Kian and his team. He explains, “Christmas marks the end of a year and we are ready to start a brand new year coming. Back to our brand’s ideology, we hope that no matter the situation everyone is in now, let’s always look at the bright side of the coming future. Even when the sun sets, we always look forward to the next sunrise.”
The orphanages and refugee homes that will benefit from this programme include the Living Hope Children Centres for Myanmar refugees; these number 11 centres in total and care for around 250 children.
When asked how they approached these two areas of underserved needs, Kian shared that he and his partners had friends who work closely in caring for children from orphanages and refugee centres and felt they could do something to help out.
He says, “Children are the future of our world and we just want to show some love to them, especially to these underprivileged kids. The priority is to give to orphanages and refugee homes that have gotten less attention.
"We do care about other communities as well, but at the moment we are only able to focus on a certain group. We hope that one day we can expand this and deliver our love to other charities too.”
That love will come in the form of a Christmas themed bento; customers can choose either a Snowman Chicken Roll Bento or a Little Snowman Tsukune Bento.
The first bento features a grilled chicken roll stuffed with turkey ham, cheese, carrot and celery; paired with a teriyaki sauce; and served with tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) and vegetables.
The Little Snowman Tsukune Bento has handmade chicken meatballs with teriyaki sauce served with two kawaii Little Snowman rice balls, turkey ham, potato salad and various vegetables.
Both bentos also come with their special Hinode Sunrise (sparkling orange juice with strawberry jelly) and a Merry Berry Pudding (milk and matcha pudding with strawberries). The strawberries are a nice touch, given that it’s a popular winter fruit in Japan.
While stock lasts, there will also be handcrafted gifts for the early birds — a Hinode Bento custom made embroidery patch. It’s the eatery’s way of saying thank you to those who reach out to support them in helping those less fortunate.
And who wouldn’t appreciate a little gift during Christmas and in the coming New Year?
Speaking of the coming year, Hinode Bento is planning to develop more new products in 2022, from new bento combinations to healthier, meatless options.
Kian adds, “We are also looking to expand to other locations so we can be reached easily by more people. Definitely we are open for collaborations with other people, to carry out the idea of sharing sunshine and positivity!”
Hinode Bento 1 For 1 Christmas Campaign
Hinode Bento is offering Malay Mail readers a RM3 discount with every order of their 1 For 1 Christmas Bento from when they launch on Dec 1 till they reach their 1,000th order. Visit their website order.hinodebento.com and use the special Malay Mail voucher code “MMHB3”. Detailed information can be found on their Instagram page instagram.com/hinodebento/.