By Adrienne Brayman
For the past several years, the Brussels fellowship has carried out a social action project every December. This first started because one of our former members who now lives in the US, Sheryl Abrahams, volunteered regularly with the same organization, Oasis. Oasis works with women in house brothels, mostly of South Asian or North African descent, who are victims of sexual exploitation, violence, trafficking, and/or other forms of exploitation. You may remember that in 2018, the Brussels fellowship received one of the social action grants on behalf of Oasis. And at the end of November last year, we prepared nearly one hundred gift bags filled with sweets, chocolates, and candies, staying on after our Thanksgiving celebration to do so. Oasis then takes these bags around to the women they work with, who often have small children and who very much appreciate them. We also include a holiday greeting, and the Oasis workers have told us in the past that some of the women keep them for months afterwards. Thank you to EUU for allowing us to put the book exchange money from EUT Berlin toward buying sweets for this project!
This year, we added a second social action project. We’ve done this once several years ago, but we now hope to make it a yearly event. Every year, Les Samaritains organize a collection of “Christmas Shoeboxes.” These are shoeboxes filled with ready-to-eat non-perishable food items and a Christmas card that are then wrapped like a Christmas gift and distributed to the poor and the homeless by various charitable organizations at the end of the year. Companies around the city organize collections, and there are also drop-off points that you can go to as individuals. As the shoebox website says, everybody deserves a Christmas present!