This is the time of giving. Many of us think not only of their own loved ones but also other people who may have been less fortunate in life.
If you’d like to help locally this Christmas, here are a few current opportunities. We’ve specifically researched organisations where communication in English shouldn’t be a problem.
The Wishing Tree
buy a present for lonely seniors and children in need
The Christmas tree in Orlí Shopping Gallery is a special one – it grants wishes. This year, donors will be able to make Christmas special for senior citizens. “In the past years, the Orlí Gallery has fulfilled the wishes of children, this year we have decided to change it. Gifts on this tree will be fulfilling the wishes of seniors from the retirement homes at Kamenná and St. Agnes. We want to create a beautiful Christmas for those who are often forgotten and spend Christmas alone,” explained the director of the Diocesan Caritas Brno, Oldřich Haičman.
How you can help: choose a specific card with a wish hanging on one of the trees (in Orlí Shopping Gallery, Královo Pole Shopping Centre or Česká spořitelna branch in Jánská Street), purchase the gift and bring it back to the Caritas volunteers at the indicated time. Gifts can be donated daily from 10:00 to 18:00 until 16 December.
a project supporting children whose parents are in prison.
Children are not responsible for their parents’ mistakes, yet they always bear the consequences. Separation from the parent, financial slump, family instability, insecurity, fear, shame… Experts agree that imprisoning a parent is similar to a child’s experience of a parent’s death. The difference is that the extended family and others do not show much compassion in such cases and do not provide the child with comparable support. Many of the prisoners’ families are condemned by their surroundings as if they were the ones who committed the crime.
That is why there is the Angel Tree project. Convicted mums and dads write a letter for their child, and the Angel Tree adds a Christmas present, which the convicts mostly cannot afford. Children will receive a gift from “mum or dad” under the tree. The most common reaction of the children is that their parents are thinking of them even when they cannot be together, and they feel loved. The project strengthens family ties, which are a great motivation for change for the convicted parent and significantly reduces relapse.
How you can help:
- By donating a present (contact the Angel Tree administrator),
- donating money (via this portal)
- practically, by helping to wrap the presents, on Saturday 7 December anytime during the day (contact the administrator for details: firstname.lastname@example.org).
save people from freezing
The Salvation Army offers people the opportunity to help those who do not have a home and live in harsh conditions, especially in winter. Nocleženka is a voucher in the value of CZK 100, which enables one homeless person to spend a night in the warmth of a Salvation Army hostel. It includes not only overnight accommodation, but also other assistance, such as the possibility to take a bath, have a hot meal or see a doctor, and last but not least to discuss option of life improvement with a social worker.
adopt a cute fuzzy friend
If you’d like to support a unique natural habitat for both llamas and people (and a few goats) on the edge of Brno, you can purchase a gift certificate for “The Llama Shepherd”, a personalised VIP leisure programme in the centre where you learn a lot more about them, how to care for them and take them for a walk.
How can you help: If having a closer relationship to one of the many animals sounds interesting, you can adopt a llama and enjoy free visits to see “your pet” all year round. In both cases, you can of course use the certificate as a gift for a loved one – who has ever got a llama for Christmas in their life?
The website is in Czech but if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to contact them by e-mail – they can also communicate in English, French or Polish. Happy Brno’s multilingual llamas. 🙂
A centre helping people with spinal cord injuries and their families.
How you can help: They have a stand at the Brno Christmas market where they sell hand-made presents to collect money for new equipment needed in the centre. People helping out at the stand are always needed.
The stand is open every day of the Christmas market from 10 am – 8 pm, there are two shifts (10 am – 3 pm, 3 – 8 pm) and there is always at least one Czech-speaking representative of the centre so you would not need to be worried about Czech-speaking customers.
If you are interested, contact them directly and agree on the details.
Pictures by Jiří Lubojacký.