Lending a helping hand in times of crisis: supporting charity

Volunteers making food packs Photo: Depositphotos
Volunteers making up food packs. Photo: Depositphotos

There might not be a conventional King’s Day this month, but according to charities organisation Goede Doelen Nederland, people are still coming together and caring for one another.

This week, for instance, radio station 3FM is running a Serious Request campaign to raise money for the Red Cross (Rode Kruis), giving people their song requests in exchange for donations.

All kinds of Dutch charities are coming up with innovative ideas to support people in lockdown – from Alzheimer Nederland, whose volunteers planted forget-me-not flowers for people with dementia who are confined to care homes at Easter, to Hersenstichting, which has launched an app to help keep people active.

Goede Doelen Nederland has warned, though, that some charitable initiatives could be in trouble, particularly those that rely on door-to-door collections. Others could also be impacted if people need to cancel monthly donations due to the impact of the corona crisis. But spokeswoman Kira van der Meulen told DutchNews.nl that there is still a strong sense of community support.

‘Care for each other is stronger than ever,’ she said. ‘We are not seeing at the moment that donations are stopping but of course this is possible if the crisis has an economic impact. But we see that relevant charities, helping children at home or emergency hospitals, are getting heartfelt support.’ DutchNews.nl has picked out a few.

Support line

The Red Cross is running a helpline for vulnerable people or those in quarantine or stuck at home who need a listening ear. People can reach a friendly volunteer on 070-4455 888 from 9am till 9pm every day of the week.


Three charities, War Child, Save the Children and UNICEF Nederland have created a programme called TeamUp to offer refugee children psychological and social support in more than 25 asylum centres. Save the Children also has its own initiative for children affected by the coronavirus.


In every area, vulnerable people such as the homeless risk being harder hit by the virus. Charities such as Amsterdam-based De Regenboog Groep, and national ones like Stichting Ontmoeting and the Salvation Army aim to help these groups.


Artsen zonder Grenzen (Doctors without Borders) has teams all over the world, including the Netherlands, helping with the coronacrisis. Cancer organisations have launched a ‘friend service’ website to help people in need with everyday tasks, while CliniClowns are trying to entertain sick children in hospital remotely thanks to a special app.


Bird protection charity Vogelbescherming points out that some species still need a helping hand, and is running free online birdwatching courses. Animal organisation Dierenbescherming is encouraging people to adopt animals online. Meanwhile Natuurmonumenten points out that it’s better to stay at home right now, so it is offering free virtual walks while we all give nature a break.


Major cultural institutions stumped by a ban on performances are still trying to reach an audience. The Dutch National Ballet is both streaming three free ballets at 7pm on Saturdays and putting its daily barre class online. Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest found a way to make music remotely in a plea for donations, while the Concertgebouw is joining 15 other international classical concert halls in streaming different concerts free every night. Enjoy, and donate.

For news about all kinds of initiatives from major registered charities in the Netherlands, see the Goede Doelen website.

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