In the run-up to Christmas, we wanted to shine the spotlight on a remarkable Bonnevoie association that helps the most disadvantaged in the neighborhood and beyond. We had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Jij Linster-Besch, coordinator of the Sozialéquipe for Association of Friends of the Bonnevoie Catholic Community.
A Tuesday morning in front of Bonnevoie church
We met on a Tuesday in November in front of the Bonnevoie church. As she does every Tuesday morning, Madame Linster-Besch and her team of volunteers served breakfast to the underprivileged in front of the stand. During the two-hour stand, we saw over 150 people of all ages, faiths, colors and languages. From children to the elderly, everyone was warmly welcomed. Some came for the hot coffee and pastries, others for the food parcels, still others for the second-hand clothes. The origins of the concept may date back to the last century, but the solutions it proposes are more relevant than ever. As Carlos Moreno has clearly understood, this is an effective and practical model for tackling today's societal, environmental and climatic challenges.
Who do you help with the Sozialéquipe ?
How do you help these people ?
Have you seen any change in demand ?
"When we started in 2018, we were helping around twenty people per "Tuesday morning", today, as you can see, we're well over a hundred. It must also be said that people don't just come from Bonnevoie, they can come from other neighborhoods and even sometimes from other towns. What we've noticed is the increase after the Covid period and now inflation. We're increasingly faced with so-called 'working poor' who work but don't earn enough to pay the rent and feed their families."
Do you organize special fundraising events ?
"Thanks to donate money to our bank account as well asfood and clothing donations which we can redistribute to the needy who come to us. We also work in collaboration with other Luxembourg associations. We support each other. For example, on Valentine's Day, we organize, with other associations, a celebration which is not a mass. We remember all those who have died during the year, sometimes in complete solitude. This initiative began with the death of a homeless man in a telephone booth. Another highlight takes place in November on the "World Day of the Poor" instituted by Pope Francis. We ask those who wish to do so to put together small parcels containing: a hat, a scarf, a pair of socks, gloves, chocolate and cookies. These are distributed on Tuesday mornings. This year, we received 350 parcels, bringing relief to many people! If you could see their smile when we hand them this little gift, they're so happy!"
What are you looking forward to as volunteers ?
"Together with my colleagues, we run a small business of around 60 volunteers! They all give their time and energy to the Sozialéquipe. What motivates us most of all is the human warmth. Much more than material aid, we share our humanity with you. Those in need often need to be respected, recognized and welcomed as much as they need material help. We want to help these people too, to show them that they are important. We want them to regain confidence in themselves, in society and in life. Together with other associations, we hope to help them get over the hurdle of precariousness."
How can we help ? How can we support you in practical ways ?
"All the donate money to our bank account* as well as donations of food and clothing are welcome. For food, in the area of canned goods, we mainly collect non-perishable canned goods such as tuna and sardines, as well as cookies, chocolate and hygiene products. As far as clothing is concerned, we're mainly looking for shoes, but anything is always useful. The easiest way is to bring your donations in kind to our office at the Bonnevoie church on Tuesday mornings between 9:30 and 11:30. Thank you all very much! "
*For cash donations, the bank account is :
ACCB-Sozialequipe - LU06 0019 5055 2566 4000 - BCEE
What if this year, our Christmas was a little more united ?
One of the pillars of our new Brooklyn district is to promote good living together wherever possible. In Bonnevoie, as in many of Luxembourg's hidden spots, many people won't have the chance to spend the festive season around a good meal contemplating a mountain of unwrapped presents. The Eaglestone team has chosen to support them through the ACCB Sozialéquipe.
If you feel the urge, don't hesitate to do the same by adding to your Christmas To-Do List a small donation to people in real need in Bonnevoie or elsewhere.