by EUU Social Action Committee member Barbara Woodard, IUCP (Prague)
The UU English speaking congregation of Prague dedicated their Christmas service offering to Místní místním (Local Locals) for the purchase of food and drink vouchers which will be given to people living on the street.
Místní místním connects cafes, restaurants and other shopkeepers who agree to provide small services for free to people in need. For example, they can recharge their mobile phone, heat up food or get a glass of water. These cafes also offer their paying customers a chance to pay forward by purchasing a meal for someone in need. Representatives of Místní místním attended the service and handed out fliers with the names of the participating cafes on them, and congregational members were urged to patronize them.
Místní místním, a Czech organization founded in 2019, follows the Le Carillon initiative, founded in 2015 in Paris. Le Carillon created a network of businesses open to people in need and projects based on direct assistance. This model has spread throughout France and is gradually reaching other countries in Europe and North America.
The basic objectives of Local to Local:
- creating social ties between homeless people (or those in need) and their surroundings
- de-stigmatization of homelessness and people in need, removal of stereotypes and barriers in meeting different social strata
- building local communities and strengthening relationships within them
- support of neighborhood solidarity, involvement of citizens in direct assistance to others in their immediate surroundings