This is a bit of a re-post from earlier in the year but I wanted to share the topic of giving back again, just in time for a couple of events this weekend! If you missed this one the first time, please keep reading otherwise just scroll down to find out more about a special UNICEF brunch on Saturday and the Serve the City Big Volunteer Week!
Growing up I was always taught the importance of giving back to the community. The women, in particular, in my family are very generous with their time and have served as great role models for how to give a helping hand. My grandmother for example volunteered at her local hospital for over 50 years – an incredible deed and one to which to aspire. Over the years, I’ve tried to find ways to help in my community, but this can be challenging when living abroad, especially if you don’t know where to look.
There are a number of ways to get involved in Brussels to help those in need both in Belgium and abroad. Here are two of the best.
Serve the City, launched by American Carlton Deal in 2005, organizes events where volunteers can help people in need in practical ways through their interests and abilities. The charity aims to connect expats living in Brussels with existing Belgian organizations already engaged in the community. Projects focus on serving the homeless, asylum seekers, disabled, elderly, children and victims of abuse. Serve the City has now grown into a global movement, with activities in 70 cities across The Netherlands, Spain, France, Brazil, US, South Africa and many more countries.
Volunteers can participate as individuals or as a group, on a one-time basis or as a regular commitment. You can even encourage your employer or company to support this organization. To find out how you can get involved, check out their Weekly Give a Hand update.
Their next event is the Big Volunteer Week starting this Saturday 30 June and running until 7 July – an entire week devoted to serving those in need, whether by serving food to the homeless, cleaning and/or beautifying the city. There are several different projects running over the week and lots of ways to get involved. Find out more here and register here.
Another great way to give back is through the Expats for UNICEF group in Brussels. Founded in 2004, this is a volunteer committee of UNICEF Belgium that aims to raise awareness about UNICEF and support UNICEF Belgium’s campaigns among the expat community.
This group organizes all sorts of activities, including a monthly pub quiz, concerts, wine tastings and art exhibitions. You can check out upcoming events on their Facebook page.
The next event is a brunch at the new Britxos cafe in Saint-Gilles where Chef Alex will offer up all sorts of tasty Anglo-American treats during a multiple course meal. The cost is €30 per person, including drinks and there are two sittings at 11:30 and 13:30, Just send an email to email@example.com to book your spot. More details here.
Want to help out immediately? A really simple thing you can do is sign the UNICEF online petition to support the Emergency Schools project, which helps provide children affected by conflict or natural disaster with security, psychological support and an education.
The Tebiki blog has some other good ideas for how to get involved. Have you found other ways to give back in Brussels?
Images via Serve the City and UNICEF.