Sometimes you need to do a good deed to wake up and feel like a renewed Ebenezer Scrooge. To shake off those wintery “bah humbugs”, consider earning some karma points around St. Petersburg and on Runet this season — even if the only words you know in Russian are “vodka” and “spasibo”.
Send a Gift to Lonely Babushka… or Dedushka
St. Petersburg activists have organized a big-hearted campaign of collecting Christmas presents for lonely seniors living in rest homes called, “Holiday for Everyone”. It’s not that hard to make their day, you just need to pack your gift and send it to the organizers. You can send warm socks, a scarf, Christmas ornament, something tasty or even a postcard. Volunteers note that seniors especially like small table Christmas trees, New Year decorations and hand-made presents. Moreover, they ask not to send old, perishable or fragile goods. There are curators of the project for every district in St. Petersburg and they would be glad to get your gifts and send them to the seniors until the 26th of December.
Leave Your Old Clothes at Spasibo!
Spasibo! is the first chain of charity shops in Russia. The workflow is simple. People from the city are donating used clothing to Spasibo! and staff sorts it. 90% of the donated clothes are distributed among charity organizations throughout the city and 10% of clothing is sent to the shops within the chain. After Spasibo! meets the expenses, it transfers earnings to the charity. Damaged or unsuitable to wear clothing is recycled. You can always leave your old clothing in special Spasibo!’s containers around the city. The list of addresses is here.
Donate Money, Food or Medicines to Nochlezhka
The word nochlezhka is translated to English as the “bunkhouse”, a sort of shelter that ensures a secure roof over your head. Nochlezhka is a charity organization in St. Petersburg founded in 1990. Currently, they are realizing 8 projects with their main focus on helping the homeless. Among them is a homeless shelter, mobile help on the night bus and also never-ending struggle for rights of homeless (for example, Nochlezhka was the organization, which achieved removal of the articles of a law, requiring criminal responsibility for vagrancy). But the project needs help to survive. To give a hand to this organization you may donate money on indoor relief, consultations of social workers and lawyers, etc. You may also bring clean seasonable clothing and footwear, non-perishable food products (canned goods, cereals, sweets, sugar, tea, etc.), hygiene products and medicines (iodine, bandages, etc.). You can bring all of that to the shelter on Borovaya St., 112B.
Save the Life of a Teenager
What can 100 rubles buy you? A pastry? Two pastries? Maybe a bag of apples at the metro station? ‘Your Territory’, a new project which provides online psychological aid to children and teenagers for free, can use your 100 rubles to give someone a chance at life. Today’s teenagers are skeptical of hot lines, which were more likely to be used before the Internet boom. This is why online chats are becoming more and more popular. Thousands of children and teenagers with suicidal tendencies and psychological problems are seeking help from platforms like Your Territory to wrestle with life’s most damning problems. In a mere seven months, more than seven thousand young survivors wrote to the psychologists on Your Territory. Unfortunately, they could reply only to four thousand of messages since, for now, the website only works from 3pm to 3am. But despair doesn’t have any timetable, and chat should be available day in and day out. To achieve this, Your Territory needs financial support. One hour of psychologist’s work costs 100 rubles — a price most of us are willing to pay for a small snack. As of right now, the project has received 214,814 rubles out of required 1,947,500 rubles it would need to stay afloat. If you are ready to save a life, you may send money to the bank account of the project. For more info go here and scroll to the part “Сделать пожертвование”.
Write a Letter to a Hopeless Stranger
The main purpose of the project ‘Kind Post’ is continue the tradition of epistolary genre writing by cheering people up, whose lives have become complicated and full of desperation. The festival “Day of Kind Letters” will give you the opportunity to make someone’s life a little brighter. To understand how the project works, read stories of the people who need attention and support, go to the community. You may send letters to any of them with a funny hand-made envelope, while volunteers of the festival will translate your letter to Russian. It will be held at anticafe “ПМЖ” (1 Krasnoarmeyskaya, 15, 3rd floor) on December 12.
Knit a Scarf for Homeless
Anastasia Dmitrieva organized the project, “Date plum draws your mouth”, to knit warm scarfs for those who need them badly every winter. The literal meaning may sound strange on foreign ears, but the saying “draw mouth” is used to express the meaning “knit a scarf” in Russian. Anastasia’s creativity has shaped and inspired a humble level of activism within the St. Petersburg community. Her project began with 50 scarves, a seemingly high goal for a budding idea. But it didn’t take long for Anastasia’s infectious enthusiasm to catch on as a slew of volunteers committed to “draw a mouth” for the project. “Date plum draws your mouth” is now a meaningful social project, aiming to knit 299 scarves this season. As of right now, they only have 52 scarves, so if you’re handy with a needle and thread, this could be the karma boost for you. Any length and color! A winter scarf is a useful yet soul-warming Christmas present for the homeless and for those who live in shelters. If you are in, please, write to Anastasia on VKontakte.
Help the Animal Shelter
More than 550 dogs and cats live in the animal shelter Island of Hope. The chance is high that even 1 of these 550 loving animals could be your lasting furry friend. Or you can help the shelter to prepare for the cold winter by donating fodder, different cereals, preserves, or cotton gloves for volunteers. Moreover, you can become curator of any pet by sending a monthly payment for living costs (1300 rub for a dog and 900 rub for a cat) or by stopping by the shelter to walk and play with animals. Island of Hope started this campaign in the end of November with more than 50 pets finding new friends.
If you have any questions on how to help these charity organizations, you may always ask Valery via Facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to help you.