Serve the City: helping the city together
Volunteers from Belgium and abroad who work to make the city more liveable, that is the idea behind 'Serve the City'. In Brussels, 50 projects have been planned. "Change is needed. Serve the City mobilises volunteers to show kindness in practical ways to people in need."
"Seeing people suffer, but doing nothing, that really will not do. Taking action, that's what it's about," Carlton Deal of Serve the City says. "Some volunteers come to us because of their faith, but most people are active because they are committed to our society."
Serve the City helps a lot of people that experience difficulties in society. In asylum centres or centres for the homeless, for example, volunteers help by acting as hairdressers, giving shoulder massages or a manicure and they prepare meals. They could even do the dishes; it really depends on what the organisation or the people need. Serve the City is active all year long, but from June 28th until July 5th there is a special project week.
This year, 50 projects have been planned. Last year, 300 volunteers helped and the organisation hopes that this year the number will rise to 500. The Serve the City idea now also exists in several European countries, the United States and since 2008 also in Uruguay. This project week, forty volunteers are from the United States and ten are from Paris. "We really believe that something good will happen when people can help. After the project has finished, we ask people to dine with us as the idea is to help each other and thereby making the city more liveable."
Deal calls this City building. "There really is a need for change. We want to get away from the individualistic lives of many people. Everybody is working hard to pay their bills. In the mean time, we don't think we can spare time and energy for others, whereas we easily can." Serve the City also tries to involve companies in its activities. "Instead of going for a teambuilding trip in the Ardennes, they can lend a hand here in town. We don't necessesarily just ask for sponsoring."