In Belgium: “Solidarité” More Vital Than Ever

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Ava Stowel applauds the work of a Belgian charity called Solidarité Grands Froids keeping an eye on the homeless.

As Europe became the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, governments put in place measures to reduce the circulation of people and to contain the spread of the new virus in order to protect the health of their citizens. Whilst the Belgian government aimed to reduce social contact by insisting people stay indoors and work from home, the homeless community began to receive less support from shelters and food banks as a consequence. Many organisations, helping people in need struggled to stay open because of the lack of masks or disinfectant gel.

Solidarité Grands Froids is a Belgian non-profit organization who, unlike many, stayed very active during the coronavirus crisis. Their primary aim is to help people who live on the streets. Their mission is to support homeless individuals who suffer from morale, physical or social difficulties by collecting goods and materials which can then be redistributed.

All year round, Solidarité Grands Froids works with over 100 volunteers to support homeless people in Brussels. The Charity organizes many activities, for example a visit from Santa and the Easter Bunny are organized for the children. There is a constant distribution of clothes and food, and they provide free healthcare. It is important to underline that the organization wishes to promote the social reintegration of people living on the streets, that is why they provide ‘departure kits’, when possible, to help individuals move away from homelessness and benefit from a stable life.

During the pandemic, the organization continued their mission and developed a strong focus on distributing meals for individuals and families living in the streets of Brussels. The volunteers are also issuing another kit which includes a drink, a hygiene kit, a pair of socks and a dessert. By visiting their Facebook page, you can see other people are participating in the cause: ‘Super Mamy Danielle’ is producing 35 masks a day to meet other needs homeless people are currently facing; and the clothing suppliers Stanley & Stella have also donated new clothes for the disadvantaged.

Solidarité Grands Froids raises awareness for homeless people and encourages your participation, too. You have the ability to create a “ray of sunshine” in the sombre world our “invisible neighbours” live in.

Visit their About page at sgf.sinapse.be