Make helping others become the new normal: how to help in times of Corona

In the current times, it’s becoming harder to keep contact with the people close to us, and even more so with those vulnerable people in the community who especially depend on our help. Many of us feel helpless because we want to help but don’t because we don’t know how to, without possibly endangering our own health or that of others. We know that there are people who could use help and support but we don’t know how to take the first step to give that support.

However there are things that you can do! Both group projects (with Corona safe measures like 1.5m distancing in mind) and a selection of individual undertakings are possible! An example of a group action is a recent AdamHelpt initiative that took place at Stichting SPIN. SPIN is an organization that not only creates playgrounds for children in the North of Amsterdam but also organizes opportunities for children of all ages to learn and play together. By doing this the organisers give the children( and their parents!) opportunities to discover ‘new worlds’ and try fun activities which they may have been hesitant to try by themselves but through the group, receive the support they need. During the recent initiative, a group of volunteers came together to make essential repairs, maintenance work and improvements to equipment so that, when the time comes, all playground equipment can be enjoyed and used again safely. This project reminds us that there is a need to prepare for the future and the things we need to do to assist other people so that they may feel safe and supported in the months to come. It’s one less worry for a family that may already be dealing with problems brought on by the pandemic.

As the Corona numbers are still prevalent, some may feel more comfortable taking an individual approach to supporting others in their community. AdamHelpt co-founders' organizations can help you out in this case. Organisations you can turn to include: Serve the City Amsterdam (STC), Buurennetwerk and Stichting Present. Examples of projects include things like food collection and donation for the elderly, homeless and mentally disabled. In the first months of the Corona Virus pandemic crises, STC has collected and distributed 842 food packages and lunches,100 cupcakes, 68 cakes, 98 pizzas and a whopping  6045 pancakes! This incredible amount of food was made possible by individual donations as well as company donations such as the Waldorf Astoria Hotel which donated 40 cakes and 200 pancakes and Salesforce, which donated many food packages via the Salvation Army. For many elderly people that received a food package it was an incredible relief to receive things as simple as coffee. Many of us may take for granted that essentials for breakfast will be in the fridge when we wake up or that we will be able to go to the supermarket to buy some jam. But for those who may not be mobile or may be in the high-risk groups, simply knowing that there will be something to put on your bread for breakfast without having to go out and risk your health or even life, can be a great relief.

Further great initiatives taken, include a game of noughts and crosses through the window with handicapped elderly people (see here) , the supermarket chain Jumbo collecting money for a shop that offers non-perishable items to those living in poverty within Amsterdam( link to article) or a great initiative by local Amsterdammers who would walk around Amsterdam while on video chat with an elderly person. In this way, the elderly person got to experience a daily route or a sunny walk without endangering themselves due to Corona. This experience was not only enjoyable from the perspective of the elderly person but often proved an interesting and enlightening experience for the younger person outside who got to experience parts of Amsterdam with completely new eyes. The elderly person would often talk about experiences they had had at a certain corner, a house or a street. A corner that the younger Amsterdammer may have walked past many times, now became meaningful through the ideas and the experiences of the elderly person. A video about this can be found here.

As you can see, there are many different opportunities to help out during these uncertain times. It’s up to you if you want to provide support in groups or as an individual, by offering your time or by giving a monetary donation. What’s important is that you open your heart and take the first steps to support those who need it most. If you are still unsure about how you can volunteer, don’t hesitate to contact us (link to the form page) so that we can support our community together. Because together we are strong. Together we are Amsterdam.

 

Written by Monika Seyer


A history of helping

Adam Helpt is an organisation that has been around for a number of years, bringing people and companies together to not only help each other but support each other. To grow in the ability to reach out to a person or a project in need and to say “ Lets do this”. Providing a bridge between social projects and organizations, Adam Helpt has taken on the role of project coordination, creation as well as CSR strategy; thereby creating meaningful and impactful bonds between companies and the communities that need their support the most.

However, you may be surprised to discover that Adam Helpt was actually created by three different NGO’s. The story starts with three NGO’s based in Amsterdam. Burennetwerk, Serve the City Amsterdam and Stichting Present All three of these NGO’s have one thing in common: they are dedicated organizations who want to bring people and social volunteering together.

Burennetwerk is an organization that brings neighbors together to help each other out with small tasks. Especially now in the times of Corona, neighbors who can’t go outside because they are older or immune-compromised, have a hard time. So Burennetwerk organizes people in the neighborhood that would like to do shopping for them or even just give them a call. Other tasks like household handywork, walking the dog and giving lifts are also much appreciated. This is not only a way of supporting people in your neighborhood but being part of a strong community!

Serve the City Amsterdam is part of a worldwide movement that brings together individuals and homeless shelters, refugee centers, old age homes and other institutions that need help. Serve the City creates events with music, crafts or cooking that bring people together. Crossing the borders of nationality and language by linking people. People are encouraged to reach out with big and small acts of kindness to those who need it most. As a recent example, during the corona time, many bouquets of flowers were donated to the Menno Simonzhuis in Amsterdam to cheer up the elderly( a surprise organized by two friends in cooperation with a flower growing co-operative and Burennetwerk,Serve the City and Stichting Present).

Stichting Present is an organization that brings together volunteers and those individuals in the community that can can use support. For instance those that suffer from poverty, ill health or social isolation. They strive to build a bridge between those that may suffer in silence and those that want to reach out a helping hand in support. Nobody should have to be alone with their problems and Stichting Present is all about making sure that doesn’t happen.

These three NGO’s recognized a need for another kind of organization. An organization that would bring together companies and volunteering efforts. An organization that would focus on Corporate social responsibility , thereby fostering the link between social projects and companies. An organization like Adam Helpt.

Even today, Serve the City and Stichting Present work closely together with Adam Helpt on Corporate social responsibility projects. Many interested companies are able to find a project or direction for their team, through the support of these NGOs. In this way, they are not only making a difference in the lives of the people they help but also aiding to spread the idea of helping and of supporting those who need it most in the community.

Have you also become interested in contacting Adam Helpt or one of the other three NGO’s mentioned? Then don’t hesitate and call or contact us today! We will work together to create a plan that fits best with your individual needs. We know that these are hard times, but we also believe that only when we hold strong and stand together, can we really make a difference. Take the first step with us and make a difference in somebodys life today.

Written by: Monika Seyer


Well-being Among the Elderly Depends on Social Connection

In 2019, the median age in the Netherlands is 42[1], twelve years older than in 1950. The country has been ageing steadily, as improved health has lengthened the lifespan of people. Today, 3.3 million are aged 65 and older, roughly 19 percent of the total population[2]. On average, Dutchmen live until 80 and women until 83[3].  While 6 out of 7 people who are older than 80 prefer to live at home, the rest live in care homes and assisted living facilities. While half need more healthcare assistance, the other half are physically healthy[4].

During the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, those who are 70 and older have a higher risk of severe illness, according to health authorities[5]. Quarantine has been especially difficult, not only because of decreased mobility, but also because of social isolation. Loneliness disproportionately affects the elderly. Researchers define loneliness as “a subjective and negative state that occurs when the number or quality of personal relationships falls short of the level desired or expected.[6]” Those who feel lonely may be living by themselves, those whose spouses have passed away, have a small social circle and little social engagement.

"Elderly people who feel lonely are more likely to develop dementia compared to others who do not have such feelings"

According to the study ‘Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL)’, elderly people who feel lonely are more likely to develop dementia compared to others who do not have such feelings[7]. Social isolation, or a decline in the quantity of social interactions, relates to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Other long-term effects include heart diseases, stroke and depression[8].

Adam Helpt is working towards alleviating the elderly’s loneliness, but we cannot do it without your help.  We work with care homes in the city, such as Amsta, Amstelring, and Cordaan. You can do many activities together such as gardening, cooking, playing board games, playing music, or just sitting together to chat. Along with our co-founder organisations, we have arranged for volunteers to take the elderly for ‘digital walks’. The idea is that you take your mobile device and stream your real-world walk as your partner sits safely indoors and enjoys the scenery along with you. Fem, an Amsterdammer of 82 years, is certainly happy with this activity as it gives her a window out to the world in COVID times.

"Social interactionis about feeling connected to others and to give and receive attention."

Social interaction is not just about being mentally occupied or keeping the mind fit.  More importantly, it’s about feeling connected to others and to give and receive attention. You will make a big difference in the improved health and well-being among Amsterdam’s omas and opas with just a little bit of time and energy. Being present, a smile, and the feeling of accomplishing something together will go a long way in keeping the blues away.

 


Summertime work and play with UBS at Volewijck Playground

It was 3 pm and one of the hottest days in the Netherlands this year. While for most people this would have been the perfect time to take a dip in the canal and cool off, the team at UBS had taken a short break to hydrate before getting back to work, helping in the refurbishing of the Volewijck Playground in Amsterdam North.

In the uncertain times, we have been thrust in, most of our time has been spent indoors and while it has provided us with an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones, it has also unfortunately deprived children the opportunity to be outdoors and having fun on the playgrounds. However, as we cautiously resume a sense of normalcy, it has allowed corporations to get back into their volunteer initiatives in the community.

It is for this reason that UBS chose the Volewijck Playground Project in Amsterdam North. The playground serves to provide children in the North pleasant and liveable neighborhoods to grow up in. The UBS team was not only excited but committed to participating in it, as it provided an opportunity to support the community and also for the team to get to know each other well.

From painting picnic benches and some indoor spaces, replanting seedbeds, clearing of the shrubs, the UBS team worked wholeheartedly with a smile on everyone’s face, offering each other a helping hand as needed to ensure each activity was done well, not even the scorching sun could dampen any of their spirits. UBS Country Manager, Ward van de Braak, said, “Through this project, we hope to provide our employees an opportunity to step away from their desks and get to see what more life has to offer and to create positive change in their local communities.”

This playground, which is managed by Stiching SPIN is one of many spread all over Amsterdam Noord, that offers children safe, adventurous, and some of the greenest playgrounds. The organization SPIN pays special attention to children (and their parents) who have less obvious opportunities, such as children with a disability or children who have to grow up in poverty to ensure they are not left out or forgotten.

There is nothing as beautiful as providing an opportunity for children to retain a sense of wonder and through the playgrounds, children get to explore their creativity and tap into talents still undiscovered, develop their self-confidence, learn social skills that enable them to traverse through life in the best way possible and as the most authentic versions of themselves.

It is said that play is our brain’s favourite way of learning and thanks to the great work by UBS, children can enjoy sunny days at the Volewijck Playground.

Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for more updates on our activities.

Would you like to volunteer, participate as a company in a fun and valuable project, let us know via info@adamhelpt.nl or call 020 2440272. Together we make the differ


A history of helping

Adam Helpt is an organisation that has been around for a number of years, bringing people and companies together to not only help each other but support each other. To grow in the ability to reach out to a person or a project in need and to say “ Lets do this”. Providing a bridge between social projects and organizations, Adam Helpt has taken on the role of project coordination, creation as well as CSR strategy; thereby creating meaningful and impactful bonds between companies and the communities that need their support the most.

However, you may be surprised to discover that Adam Helpt was actually created by three different NGO’s. The story starts with three NGO’s based in Amsterdam. Burennetwerk, Serve the city Amsterdam and Stichting Present/ All three of these NGO’s have one thing in common: they are dedicated organizations who want to bring people and social volunteering together.

Burennetwerk is an organization that brings neighbors together to help each other out with small tasks. Especially now in the times of Corona, neighbors who can’t go outside because they are older or immune-compromised, have a hard time. So Burennetwerk organizes people in the neighborhood that would like to do shopping for them or even just give them a call. Other tasks like household handywork, walking the dog and giving lifts are also much appreciated. This is not only a way of supporting people in your neighborhood but being part of a strong community!

Serve the city Amsterdam is part of a worldwide movement that brings together individuals and homeless shelters, refugee centers, old age homes and other institutions that need help. Serve the city creates events with music, crafts or cooking that bring people together. Crossing the borders of nationality and language by linking people. People are encouraged to reach out with big and small acts of kindness to those who need it most. As a recent example, during the corona time, many bouquets of flowers were donated to the Menno Simonzhuis in Amsterdam to cheer up the elderly( a surprise organized by two friends in cooperation with a flower growing co-operative and Burennetwerk,Serve the City and Stichting Present).

Stichting Present is an organization that brings together volunteers and those individuals in the community that can can use support. For instance those that suffer from poverty, ill health or social isolation. They strive to build a bridge between those that may suffer in silence and those that want to reach out a helping hand in support. Nobody should have to be alone with their problems and Stichting Present is all about making sure that doesn’t happen.

These three NGO’s recognized a need for another kind of organization. An organization that would bring together companies and volunteering efforts. An organization that would focus on Corporate social responsibility , thereby fostering the link between social projects and companies. An organization like Adam Helpt.

Even today, Serve the City and Stichting Present work closely together with Adam Helpt on Corporate social responsibility projects. Many interested companies are able to find a project or direction for their team, through the support of these NGOs. In this way, they are not only making a difference in the lives of the people they help but also aiding to spread the idea of helping and of supporting those who need it most in the community.

Have you also become interested in contacting Adam Helpt or one of the other three NGO’s mentioned? Then don’t hesitate and call or contact us today! We will work together to create a plan that fits best with your individual needs. We know that these are hard times, but we also believe that only when we hold strong and stand together, can we really make a difference. Take the first step with us and make a difference in somebodys life today.

Written by: Monika Seyer


Food bags distributed via Salvation Army thanks to donation from Salesforce

“Thank you so much for the food bag; it was the first time this week I’ve had something to put on my bread” 

“Thank you so much for the food bag; it was the first time this week I’ve had something to put on my bread” and “I was at a tipping point: the walls were closing in, the Food Bank has less to offer and then, just in time you showed up with the bag.” These are just two of many responses Adam Helpt received to our food bag initiative, made possible by Salesforce.

A large international firm that supplies corporate client management software, Salesforce made the donation from the funds it normally spends on catering for its own staff. The company knew that we would ensure the money was used to support those that really need extra help in this difficult period.

People who were already vulnerable are struggling in these uncertain and troubling times. The Food Bank has less food to distribute, daily activities have been cancelled, and people’s opportunities to generate a little extra income have dried up. For some Amsterdam residents this means having literally nothing left over to spend on groceries.

“To these people, walking into the supermarket and filling up a shopping cart with tasty food and treats is a genuine luxury,” says Bouke Hartman, cluster manager of the Child and Family Goodwill Centres in Amsterdam. “And what do you do when you have no money but you still need food?”

“It was so wonderful to make myself some coffee without worrying about whether I’d have any tomorrow”

After receiving this generous donation from Salesforce we contacted the Salvation Army and made up the food bags. The groceries delivered to the Salvation Army facilities in the city centre were packed by volunteers – a grand total of 120 packages which included coffee, tea, cheese, eggs, butter, jam, and much more besides. “It was so wonderful to make myself some coffee without worrying about whether I’d have any tomorrow” and “Just delicious, I shared the cheese with my elderly neighbor,” were among the replies we received.

Adam Helpt and Serve the City are ready to distribute bags of groceries among the people who need it most via the Salvation Army. As Bouke Hartman stressed: “A bag of basic groceries is more than welcome among many people in Amsterdam.”

Would your company like to contribute to a project that benefits the most vulnerable groups in the city? Please contact us via info@adamhelpt.nl or call us on 020 244 0272. Together we can make the difference.

Written by: Nienke Vermeulen


A Mother’s Day like no other

As the world geared up for this year’s Mother’s day, one thing was clear on everyone’s mind; this year’s celebrations were going to be unlike any other. However, despite the ongoing pandemic, it is still a special day to remind your mother how much you love and appreciate her, albeit with the help of a little creativity.

This was no different for the partners and team of volunteers who joined us to bring smiles and good cheer for the mothers living at the Noordkaap, Salvation Army Hilversumstraat in Amsterdam Noord, Timon houses. Understanding the importance of adhering to the social distancing regulations and thanks to a little creativity, the volunteers worked in shifts to plan and prepare for the day.

The excitement was palpable as some volunteers arrived the previous day to prepare breakfast baskets for families living at Orange Huis, while others came in on Sunday to wrap up the baskets. Additional volunteers also offered support by helping make the 60 gift packages for the moms and women living in the shelter.

Celebrations featured a concert, which took place at Noordkaap in two shifts with a maximum number of 10 moms listening in per shift for 15 minutes of music. At the end of each shift, mothers were presented with gifts, which included bubble bars, dusting powders, spa kits, chocolates among other things.

Bouke Hartman, Clustermanager Kind en Gezin at the Salvation Army, expressed gratitude at the gifts the mothers and women received, explaining that it was had been a tough time, especially with the Coronavirus for the moms.  He went on further to say that gifts and music were a great way to show them that people were thinking about them.

One of the mother’s living at Timon who was visibly overwhelmed with joy, said the gifts made her day and after all the surprises, her spirits were lifted and she felt much better.

All in all, it was a well-spent afternoon and a great way to show appreciation especially for mothers and women living in shelters who can be easily forgotten, reminding them of the gems that they are, the instrumental role they play in raising the next generation and most importantly that they matter.

It was also a great show of community spirit and togetherness as well as proof that despite the difficult times we are in, we can come together and help the less fortunate. We are grateful to all the great partners who helped make this day a success and made a mom smile.

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities, reach out to us at www.adamhelpt.nl and let us help you help others.

Article was written by Beatrice Thumi