On Saturday May 9th, Serve the City had its annual Global Volunteer Day. Serve the City is a global movement of volunteers showing kindness in personal ways to people in need. Every year, Serve the City sets aside the second Saturday of May to celebrate volunteerism, and the challenges of this season made it even more important to do the same in 2020 – which resulted in the largest and most creative Global Volunteer Day yet.
This year, the Global Volunteer Day theme was ‘Kindness Starts with Me.’ Given the worldwide COVID crisis, this theme helped reflect and reproduce the need for giving and receiving kindness that many feel in today’s society.
True to its name, Saturday’s volunteering was truly global. From Perth to Lima, from Ulaanbaatar to Nairobi and from Paris to Detroit, the kindness efforts throughout the day crossed cities, countries and continents. More than 30 cities across 25 countries and 6 continents brought together thousands of volunteers to celebrate Global Volunteer Day through acts of service.
The volunteers involved within these efforts truly embodied Serve the City’s motto of ‘Cross the Line.’ Some spread kindness by delivering food or masks, others by creating virtual kindness initiatives and others still by participating in calls and meetings to get volunteering opportunities started in their cities.
Let’s have a look at a few of the stories that came out of this special day.
In Kathmandu, the Serve the City team gathered rice and other essentials that were enough to provide food for 42 families throughout the city.
Volunteers from Serve the City Quito joined forces to create a light-hearted music video that was shared among shelters and frontline workers in order to bring joy to those who saw it.
Serve the City volunteers in the Twin Cities, Nairobi and Brussels made and collected masks to distribute among the low-income and refugee population in addition to other projects held during the day.
Twenty-five volunteers from Serve the City Accra visited a special school for children with autism to donate food items and help plant grass in the lawn while Detroit had volunteers delivering cards and baked goods to senior citizens.
Serve the City Peninsula volunteers collected and delivered meals and groceries to low income families and senior citizens. They even encouraged the recipients to pay-it-forward by including an extra bag within that could be shared with a neighbour or friend in need.
In Brussels, Serve the City volunteers made reusable masks. 219 masks were collected on that day alone, and part of it has been distributed to migrants at Quai des Péniches, as well as, for the most kids friendly designed, to the Marie-Henriette Institution (a center where kids from 0 to 6 years old are being placed by a judge), for the social workers there. More masks will be collected and distributed in the coming days. Volunteers on that day also served tea, coffee and muffins to migrants.
This is a small glimpse of the many acts of kindness that took place in a single day. It serves to show how, in the words of Serve the City International’s CEO Carlton Deal, ‘many people doing small things together can make a big difference.’
At a time where it seems that plans and events all over the world are being cancelled, Serve the City maintains that kindness will not be cancelled. If you would like to know more about how to share kindness in this season, you can read Serve the City’s article on showing kindness in personal ways here.
If you would like to listen to Serve the City’s Podcast, Serving Stories, which includes episodes on COVID Kindness, you can find the episodes here or on your favourite podcast app.