Do You Know… A Pleines Mains?–by Robyn Schindel



I speak a (very) little French, so I know “mains” means “hands” in English. But when I plugged in “pleines mains” into my Google translate, it came back as “a handful”. At first I thought it was a somewhat typical, inexact translation. But then I thought back to my visit to the A Pleines Mains warehouse, and they certainly do have their hands full, and offer more than handfuls to organizations in need. The size and scope of the organization really blew me away. They have about 60 regular volunteers and a buzzing depot full of, well, more than I could imagine. They are doing some amazing work.

A Pleines Mains collects donations of gently used goods (they take almost anything!) and then repurposes all of the items, through either donating them to charities or selling them and using the money to support charities. So, that backpack your kid outgrew could be used for a new Shanghai Young Baker, or those blankets that ended up not fitting your bed could go to help migrant worker families. In 2014 A Pleines Mains supported 22 projects with material assistance and 7 projects with financial assistance.

Volunteers can help at A Pleines Mains:

  • Organize a donation day in your compound or company
  • Help sort the goods we collect
  • Help at a charity sale
  • Help keep our depot open
  • Become an ambassador for «Baguettes & Fourchettes» (cookbook in Chinese, French and English), facilitating sales events
  • Be in charge of specific projects
  • Be in charge of redistributing materials goods and financial aid
  • Be in charge of relations with our donors and sponsors
  • Join the « Baguettes & FourchettesVolume 2 » team: be in charge of sales or stock control
  • Become a part of the editing team of “Baguettes & FourchettesVolume 3: Fruits & Vegetables in the Chinese Markets” –launch date programmed for 2016.

You can also go out to their warehouse depot for shopping Monday to Thursday from 9:00 – noon. They have a wide array of stuff for sale, and all the money goes to charity.

Depot Address: 115 HongzhongLu, near Wanyuan Lu (This is out in Hongqiao, not too far from the HongMei Road LaoWai Jie walking street. See the map on their website.)

If you are interested in volunteering with A Pleines Mains, contact

A Pleines Mains at ShanghaiMamas 2014 Annual Party                                                                     

(PIC:A Pleines Mains at ShanghaiMamas 2014 Annual Party)

General Information about Volunteering in Shanghai

Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community, make friends, and add meaning to your life. It’s particularly great for expats who sometimes face challenges connecting when they first relocate, or after your first set of friends moves back home or on to their next assignments!

The Community Center has a matching service, email list and events to learn more about charities in Shanghai.

Feiy is an online organization connecting social impact initiatives in China. Follow them on WeChat to learn about a wide variety of organizations and volunteering opportunities.

WeChat: FeiyChina