Belgian charity: The Samaritans are reaching out


The Samaritans is a non-profit organization under Belgian law. The Samaritans asbl was created in 1994 by the late Claude Vander Elst. The main purpose of the organization is to provide assistance to the homeless and other needy people in Brussels through a weekly distribution of soup and sandwiches in the corridor of Central Station. They are one of the few organizations that provides food throughout the year.

At the same time, they try to provide blankets, and sleeping bags, especially to those sleeping in the street. All of this is dependent on the donations that they receive. Since the corridor from Central Station was renovated, they are ‘allowed’ to use the sidewalk on Cantersteen, behind the station. From May to October, we give soup, sandwiches, coffee and cakes and yoghurt when we receive them.

From November to April, the Samaritans are to be found in the corridor of the Botanique subway, under the direction of Operation Thermos, giving out soup, hot meals, water, coffee, plus cakes and yoghurts.

Apart from this main activity, they organize every year, on the evening of December 31, a festive New Year’s Eve dinner, including a starter, a main dish and a dessert. The meal is accompanied by soft drinks. Finally, the event is concluded with a present for every participant. Every year, more than 350 people take part in this event, including many children. This also now takes place in the Botanique subway.

They find it important to mention that the organization does not want to judge anybody, whether talking about a person’s past, present or future. It does not spread any political nor religious ideology. Our only goal is to help people in need, whoever they are and wherever they come from.

You can help by donating, volunteering or offering something that can be delivered to the needy. You can find out the collection points on the website under Shoe-box in December when they will be updated on the site. The general public fill the boxes with something to eat and drink – for Christmas they are wrapped as presents.

It is difficult to add a more fitting sentiment than that of John Bunyan posted on the Samaritans’ website: “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”