LIMERICK has joined a global movement of local advocates as Serve The City, a not-for-profit organisation, mobilises volunteers to show kindness in practical ways to the marginalised and vulnerable.
John Buckley and Etan Blass are aiming to have one project a month where concerned citizens come together for those who are disadvantaged or forgotten in the city.
The Limerick branch of Serve the City is the newest member of what has become a global movement, founded in Brussels in 2005, and now active in over 100 cities worldwide.
“We see ourselves as matchmakers. We are the connection between the good intentions of people who are able to serve and a meaningful opportunity to do so”, explains Baltimore native Ethan.
Serve the City, unlike many other charities, doesn’t ask for cash as it’s a voluntarily group. However, it asks people to give of their time, which something Etan and John believe to be much more powerful.
Limerick man John Buckley from Raheen discovered the charity when he moved to Dublin and believes it is a perfect model for his native city.
“Serve the City is all about people coming together to fill in the cracks – either for the benefit of the whole community, or for an individual in our community. I think people in this city, more so than in others, understand the meaning of community and go above the call of duty to help others who need a helping hand,” he explained.
“Limerick has the need and a strong sense of community, so it makes sense to have this type of organisation in the city,” he added.
John and Etan’s first ‘serve’ was to come to the aid of a victim of the floods in St Mary’s Park last February. Volunteers from across the city cleaned out and painted the downstairs of a house for a family of seven who had to abandon their home for almost two months.
“We want to make sure we are serving people in our communities that need our help, but also to ensure that the people coming along and volunteering have a great experience and get as much as possible out of it. Everyone who volunteered for our inaugural Limerick serve day has already expressed interest in our next volunteer opportunity,” he said.
The duo claim that part of the attraction of Serve the City to them and to volunteers is that it is often a first step to volunteerism and many go on to become actively involved in their communities. To get involved email [email protected] or search STC Limerick on Facebook or Twitter.