Do good, feel good December by helping those in need

We speak to two volunteers within the Equal team who give their time to help make a difference, especially during the Winter season at Het StoelenProject, Amsterdam.

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For most of us, winter means cosy family gatherings, gift-giving and even holidays. For people experiencing homelessness or housing struggles, Winter is a brutal challenge. Joanna Jaarsveld and Alessandra Large tell us what it means to them to volunteer and the positive impact it has.

We have been volunteering at Het Stoelenproject for six and two years. Their main mission is to provide accessible shelter at night for anyone who needs it. Het Stoelenproject also provides warm meals and sandwiches for breakfast, all free of charge. Every year they provide 10.000 overnight stays which are made possible by the 75 volunteers. As a volunteer you give out the meals, have a chat with the visitors and, mostly importantly, make sure the visitors feel safe and welcome. Seeing the visitors regaining their confidence, getting jobs and often not needing Het Stoelenproject anymore is one of the most rewarding parts of volunteering. 

Find a charity that you are interested in and actually ask what the organisation needs.
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If you would like to get involved with this organisation the best thing to do would be to email or find a charity that you are interested in and actually ask what the organisation needs. Most often we think we know and well-meaning donations are super nice, but it is so much more effective and thus, helpful to ask what an organisation actually needs/lacks. Nearly always, money is the best donation. Then the charity can decide exactly when and how to spend it.

If you are struggling to find something that suits you, we highly recommend to find a big range flexible volunteer work! Maybe this way you find something you enjoy, then make a commitment and stick to it. You can also just head to your local buurthuis and ask if they need help. Find something nearby to make less barriers between you and your extra commitments!

Also worth mentioning, if you are cash-rich and time-poor, then donate! If you are a bit richer in the time department, then donate your time and compassion, and if you are already overwhelmed with commitments, then wait until a time in your life where you are a little less so. 
Ever notice that you pretty much only spend time with people of the same age/social class/who think the same as you/have similar backgrounds? Volunteering is just one of the ways to broaden your social circle and thus broaden your life experience, increase empathy and sometimes to get a sense of perspective. It has also been proven that helping others increases mood, happiness and self-esteem.

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If you would like to help those in need during winter, you can also take part in our Winter Raffle by purchasing a raffle ticket for €5 in any of our studios from 1-21 December 2021.

100% of all donations will go to:

Amsterdam: Het StoelenProject
Rotterdam: NAS
Utrecht: Smulhuis