Bargain sales community initiative pays it forward

08 Dec 2023The Star

Wong (front row, second from left) with Bargain Basement’s beneficiary organisations.

IOI Foundation’s social enterprise donated RM400,000 to 18 beneficiaries from proceeds of Bargain Basement sales. Bargain Basement is a community initiative by the foundation, formerly known as Yayasan Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng. It provides high-quality used or new items at affordable prices and proceeds are donated to deserving beneficiaries.

IOI Foundation executive director and founder of Bargain Basement Datin Joanne Wong said the initiative was launched in 2016 and was going strong. “Unlike most bargain shops, ours is very neat and items are all tagged. Even B40 category household buyers can contribute to charity when they shop here as their money spent will be channeled to selected causes. Our beneficiaries consist of schools and tertiary organisation, healthcare support foundations, shelter homes, animal shelters and non-profit organisations,” she said at IOI City Mall after the donation ceremony. She said beneficiaries were chosen by the donors, staff and customers at Bargain Basement.

Recipients and organisers cheering the success of Bargain Basement, which has several outlets including (below) at IOI City Mall, Putrajaya.

The recipients this time around were Cherishlife Home, Rumah Charis, Epic Homes, Sisters in Islam, Hospis Malaysia, SJK(C) Chen Moh, Lifecare Community Services, SJK(C) Tshing Nian, Malaysian Association of Paediatric Palliative Care, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, PAWS Animal Welfare Society, Society for the Severely Mentally Handicapped, Persatuan Daybreak, The Edge Education Foundation, Pertubuhan Amal Uncle Kentang Malaysia, The Lost Food Project, Pusat Jagaan Al-Fikrah Malaysia and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).

Since the inception of Bargain Basement, some RM1mil in donations have benefitted various groups. The initiative hopes to enable the public to recycle items that are still in good use and to declutter homes. Bargain Basement was first opened in IOI City Mall, Putrajaya in 2016, followed by the second shop at IOI Mall, Puchong in 2017.

Two other shops were later opened at UTAR, operated by students within the university campuses. Wong said the social enterprise served as a form of aid to the community especially in times of great economic challenges. It also offers environmental benefits with reduction in waste discarded to the landfill. “Bargain Basement has been making a positive impact with its sustainable concept of selling pre-owned items at affordable prices. The nett proceeds are then utilised to support local charities. The corporate social responsibility initiative has led Bargain Basement to achieve a total of RM928,468 in proceeds that were donated to 50 beneficiaries over the years,” Wong said.

One of the beneficiaries is Hospis Malaysia which provides palliative care to patients and their caregivers. Its communications and fundraising executive Subashini Rajasekaran said the funds donated would go to patient care support. “It costs us RM30 a day to treat one patient. At any given time, we have about 500 patients that benefit from our care,” she said.