Leslie Simpson Finds Her Calling
Fulfilling wish lists is how Leslie Simpson, a former accountant from Scotland, spends her time these days. Her charity distribution store, Roundabout, accepts donations of gently used household goods and sends them to two dozen charities around Beijing.
Why did you start a charity store?
I always dreamed of working in an orphanage and helping the underprivileged when my own kids were older. When my husband accepted a job in China and my three boys (ages 18, 19 and 22) had grown up, I realized this was my chance. I sold my hobby craft design business and used the proceeds to create Roundabout, which opened October 2008.
What is the store’s mission?
Roundabout is strictly not-for-profit. I take in donations, sort them and give orphanages, migrant schools, and a whole host of other charities what they need. The store does the collections work so the charities can focus on what they need to do, such as caring for children and teaching students. The store also makes items available for sale to villagers and expats alike. We are also in the process of setting up a service to connect organizations and individuals looking to donate with charities in need.
How do you decide what to give away and what to sell?
The first priority is for donations to go to charities that need various items. After that, we put items on sale for local villagers to buy at low prices. If items have been on the shelves for more than 30 days, we make them available for sale at our Saturday morning flea market. Empty shelves are a good sign; today we don’t have much clothing in the store because we just sent off a big shipment of clothing to Pakistani refugees.
Roundabout Charity Store Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4.30pm. Kaifa Jie (next to Radiance and Mrs. Shanen’s), Xibaixinzhuang, Houshayu, Shunyi (137 1877 7761) 后沙渝西柏辛庄开发街
The shop accepts everything except locally produced magazines and DVDs, heavily worn clothes and items previously used by pets. To volunteer or donate, contact Leslie at 137 1877 7761 or firstname.lastname@example.org.