Wednesday 25 May 2022

Let them eat cake! Charity action on ‘blue Monday’

Miriam’s fruit cake Photo: Miriam Feuth

In an attempt to cheer people up on ‘blue Monday’, volunteers in Amsterdam have baked 3,000 pieces of cake for care homes and homeless shelters across the city.

The charitable drive, organised by volunteer group Serve the City, aims to share a bit of light on January 17, once dubbed by a British advertising campaign as the ‘most depressing day of the year’.

Inspired by the idea, director Brigitte Vonck said that in the current Dutch partial lockdown, the aim was to spread a bit of cheer.

‘Blue Monday is known as the most depressing day of the year, and although the lockdown has been slightly loosened, there’s still not a lot to do in the Netherlands,’ she said. ‘A lot of people are looking for activities and really want to do something positive. So we thought: why not bake cake for people in care homes and homeless shelters?’

The charity, which started raising awareness two weeks ago, has more than 200 volunteers baking and delivering some 3,000 slices of cake in total to 39 institutions around the city – including a carrot cake made by Vonck’s own husband and son.

‘Three thousand people are going to have a little taste of happiness,’ she said. ‘There are indeed a lot of people prepared to do something positive in this period.’

During the coronavirus pandemic, the charity has run various campaigns to help the less fortunate in the Dutch capital, including baking pancakes and delivering meals to care workers.

‘This was very new for us as a city, and also apparently a new way of doing volunteer work,’ she added. ‘People really liked to be able to bake something at home and deliver it to people who weren’t doing quite as well. So with “blue Monday”, we decided to do something positive – and we can see that it makes the volunteers happy too!’

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