The days are growing colder, but with the nippy weather comes everyone’s favourite holidays. Besides searching for a turkey to stuff to recreate an American Thanksgiving, picking out the perfect Caga Tió and shopping for presents for friends and family, why not spend a few hours of this holiday season volunteering?
You can provide a rare evening snack for the homeless, brighten up an elderly person’s day, help abandoned animals, work in a fair trade shop or just donate a few unnecessary things cluttering up your apartment. Here’s our list of four places to contact depending on how you want to give back to Barcelona.
Esperança is a group of volunteers who go out four times a week on two different routes through the city to give food, clothing and a bit of time to the homeless. They need help making and distributing the food (usually sandwiches and soup) and collecting items of clothing, especially shoes and socks, and bedding, such as sleeping bags and blankets. They go out every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday around 8.30pm. You are more than welcome to donate financially, but just a couple of hours of your time every now and then can benefit the programme hugely. Esperança’s goal is to cover more areas and more nights in the future, but to achieve that they need you and your friends.
To volunteer visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/esperancabcn/ and click the Google Doc at the top of the page.
Amics de la Gent Gran
Amics de la Gent Gran is an organisation of volunteers who work to improve elderly people’s quality of life. Their mission is to combat loneliness and social exclusion which, not only lead to debilitating feelings, but intensify other issues, such as health problems, economic hardships and reduced autonomy. Amics de la Gent Gran believe the best remedy for these problems is friendship. As the organisation says, “Friendship is free” and the bond shared by volunteers and older people is a source of great emotional support. Whether you visit someone at home or volunteer to take him or her to the doctor, every interaction can make a difference. The organisation also participates in social activism, spreading awareness about the challenges which the elderly face.
El Jardinet dels Gats
El Jardinet dels Gats is an ideal place for people interested in the wellbeing of the city’s abandoned and feral cats to volunteer. The association is dedicated to protecting colonies of cats, sterilising and testing them for diseases, and providing the care and life they deserve while they wait to be adopted. The first year after it was founded, El Jardinet dels Gats accepted 236 cats being put up for adoption, and rescued and sterilised 300 homeless cats. Volunteers, the people in charge of caring for the El Jardinet dels Gats’ colonies, help out with different tasks, such as tidying the cats’ living space, feeding, play time, etc. It is important to have volunteers from different areas of expertise so they can collaborate with different tasks and projects.
Oxfam Intermón works to fight poverty, injustice, and growing inequality in countries worldwide. They are present in more than 90 countries, helping people overcome poverty, saving lives in emergency situations, restoring livelihoods in the aftermath of devastation, and promoting campaigns in which people living in poverty can have a voice and influence the decisions that affect them at local and global levels. They have different opportunities available for people who want to volunteer. These include assisting in their fair trade shops or carrying out tasks in different departments of their organisation, such as fundraising, human resources, marketing and communication. See the ‘Voluntariado’ section of their website for more information.