DECEMBER BRIEFING - WHAT ARE THE CHRISTMAS CARING INITIATIVES IN YOUR CITY?

What we love about our network, is that they are always on the outlook for great local initiatives that we are happy to share with you each month. So, just before the holiday season is starting, a big thanks to Melbourne (Netta), Amsterdam (Hannah) and Hong Kong (Mikaela) for sharing their findings on social caring initiatives in their city around Christmas.

Credit photographer Adrian Lander

Credit photographer Adrian Lander

Melbourne - Rescuing food and fighting hunger this Christmas

The volunteer-powered organisation putting food waste to good use.

When you think of Christmas you think of being surrounded by family and friends eating copious amounts of food. Sometimes too much food. Spare a thought for those that struggle to put just one plate of food on their table, and those without the family or friends to share it with.

Every year the Fr Bob Maguire Foundation hosts a traditional Christmas lunch for around 400 Melbournians experiencing homelessness and severe disadvantage. Bringing together a community of people to enjoy a big feast. Catering for the event is provided by FareShare, a volunteer-powered organisation which rescues food that would otherwise go to waste by cooking up nutritious meals for those in need.

Last year’s Christmas lunch, provided by FareShare

Last year’s Christmas lunch, provided by FareShare

Credit photographer Adrian Lander

Credit photographer Adrian Lander

Credit photographer Adrian Lander

Credit photographer Adrian Lander

It is a year-round operation for FareShare, who collect surplus, quality food from supermarkets, wholesalers, farmers and other businesses, helping to prevent food waste going to landfill. Preparing and cooking around 5,500 free meals a day for various charities, supporting people who need it most.

With so many meals to make, FareShare are on a food drive bid to collect 20,000kg of rice and pasta before Christmas to meet the growing demand for those in Melbourne doing it tough. With community support they hope to create 330,000 meals.  More information can be found here https://www.fareshare.net.au/

Words by Netta Justice

Photo by Judy Lam

Photo by Judy Lam

Hong Kong - Charity and a Life-Saver

It’s that time of year again when we get together and share the love!

Most years, Hong Kong shuffles between church and commercialism; this year, our city introduces social initiatives for the holiday season.

On the 1st of December, the St. Stephen’s Chapel Christmas Fete was held in Stanley to celebrate the festival with an Asian flare. Santa showed up in a helicopter in the afternoon as a performance to add atmosphere, then Chinese lion dancers and acrobats were featured as part of the entertainment. Guests had an unusual experience out in the open lawn of a traditional college by the sea.

Photo by Judy Lam

Photo by Judy Lam

Three days later, the halls of St. John’s Cathedral in Central were lit up with glowing candles decorating the Christmas tree. Surrounding streets vibrated with beautiful voices of choirs as singers poured their hearts out through music. A Charity concert ‘Light Up a Life’ featuring the Island School Orchestra & Choir and also the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir was a well-received event.

The most life-saving initiative was done by Christian Action on the 20th of December. Christian Action’s Centre for Refugees held a blood donation at St. Andrew’s Church to encourage Hong Kong people to donate blood to save lives. This event did not ask for money, merely a small amount of time and some liquified humanity.

Photo by Judy Lam

Photo by Judy Lam

All in all,  it is encouraging to look beyond Hong Kong’s consumerism and appreciate the charitable atmosphere during Christmastime.

Being surrounded by love, by friends, by family are what bring Hong Kongers together during this festive season. Wherever you are in the world, Hong Kong wishes you all a winter filled with love, joy, and peace.

Words by Mikaela Gordan

A City Made By People December Social Caring Initiatives Christmas Amsterdam Serve the City 2.jpg

Serve the City with 500 heroes - Amsterdam

Amsterdam has plenty to offer for those in need of some community support over the Christmas period. We are particularly inspired by the initiative Serve the City: a movement bringing together volunteers 
showing kindness in various “hands on” ways to give back, to the people who need us Amsterdammers the most.

Serve the City could use a helping hand from any local Amsterdammer this year, from creatives to DIY geeks, as this Saturday the movement aims to group five hundred volunteers together in the city to help those in need. They’ve called this mission the “500 Heroes” and is probably one of the most inspiring projects we’ve seen over the festive season this year.

A City Made By People December Social Caring Initiatives Christmas Amsterdam Serve the City 3.jpg

The project consists of various mini projects benefiting many different and diverse groups of people in need this Christmas. The initiative has built the project up with a variety of small jobs: DIY tasks in people’s homes, practical jobs planned at medical institutes, festive dinners for the elderly in care-homes and families living in shelters, face painting for children’s Christmas celebrations and haircuts for the homeless.

The heroes can volunteer to start the project day by serving coffee or even to be an official videographer or interviewer for the day! Most of the tasks involve smiling and making people feel together, as a community. Serve the City are still looking for volunteers to help this Saturday, so if you’re wondering how you can give back this Christmas, take a look at their projects below.

Serve the City creates events that mobilize many volunteers to serve in simple ways – sports, music,
 arts and crafts, meals, friendship and more.
 We are the connection between the good intentions and talents 
of people who could volunteer and a meaningful opportunity to get involved. It starts with a small gesture and from there, Serve the City believe that as a community, through our actions we will encourage everyone to be involved - through some kind of organic growth to do good.

The dream of Serve the City is for everyone to serve.. As soon as we invite those we have met while serving to join us, because what we really want is to cross the line together. Serve the City is for everyone. It’s a revolution, a serving revolution. And it’s going to change the world.

Words by Hannah Whiteley



Making an impact in the lives of refugees and survivors in Chicago

Ashley Fargnoli is a dance/ movement therapist and activist making an impact in the lives of refugees and survivors of human trafficking in Chicago. Ashley is dedicated to supporting an underserved community of newly resettled refugees who are being introduced to a new city life while working to overcome traumatic events of the past.  

Through her work at the Hamdard Healthcare Center, Ashley uses dance/ movement therapy to help those suffering from trauma. (DMT) is defined by the American Dance Therapy Association as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integrations of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being”.  

Ashley engaged in dance/movement therapy with women from various cultural backgrounds Photos by Shawn Convey and Rachel Utain-Evans

Ashley engaged in dance/movement therapy with women from various cultural backgrounds
Photos by Shawn Convey and Rachel Utain-Evans

Ashley’s background in DMT has lead to working with refugee populations in India, Herzegovina and Bosnia. Through these experiences she was able to study and the impact dance/movement can have on those living with trauma. It is this background and experience that has helped create the programming she has brought to her work in Chicago. 

Ashley engaging in dance movement therapy in a group Photos by Shawn Convey and Rachel Utain-Evans

Ashley engaging in dance movement therapy in a group
Photos by Shawn Convey and Rachel Utain-Evans

At the Hamdard Healthcare Center in the Rogers Park community, Ashley’s patients are referred from multiple Chicago refugee resettlement agencies such as Refugee One, World Relief Chicago and Heartland Alliance. She works with clients of all ages and at times, entire families. Bringing dance/movement to this community offers those dealing with trauma the opportunity to heal by re-connecting and re-establishing trust with the body and releasing stress. Her work and dedication to bringing creative therapeutic resources to create a safe and healing space is a true inspiration.  

Words by Touly Phiachantharath 

 

From the entire A City Made By People crew, we wish a very Merry Christmas and a happy start of 2019!