By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Cidade Maravilhosa has another side to the postcard pictures, where many communities struggle with poverty in a country of vast wealth inequality. When staying in Rio, travelers can donate items to several community organizations who will distribute them to those in need, following are just a few.
InC – Charity projects
The International Club of Rio (InC) supports various charity projects throughout the city. Not only do they accept and distribute donations, but also actively participate in their projects through volunteer work.
There are several ways to donate via the InC. “We have a monthly donation listed in our newsletter for our members to bring to the general meeting each month. This can range from school supplies to powdered milk. I then distribute these items to the various charities,” Robyn Thompson, Charity director at the InC, tells The Rio Times.
Specific needs will be posted on the club’s facebook page, but clothes and toys can also always be donated and Ms. Thompson will distribute them personally among the charities.
The American School – FAISE organization
Parents, teachers and outside volunteers of the American School of Rio de Janeiro (EARJ) have created the FAISE organization in order to channel donations to families in the Rocinha favela community. They accept all kinds of items families might need, such as clothes, toys and food.
The donations can be delivered to the American School, addressed to Beth Freitas. In some cases, she could also arrange pick up in Zona Sul (South Zone). They also collect milk for five daycare centers in Rocinha and conduct a Read@the-Library program every Monday after school.
Alison Kalinowski Giese has donated through Beth Freitas and her colleagues. She says about the experience, “[Beth] works with families in Rocinha. Any time I have donated clothes, toys, etc. she sends me a personal message with photos of the people who received the items I gave. It is very rewarding.”
Corrente pelo Bem
Corrente pelo Bem is a community project, initially organized to help children at Christmas in 2010 in the Jardim Gramacho landfill. It has now grown into a bigger project, carrying out two social activities every two months in Jardim Gramacho.
“We do not have any personal interest, financial or religious, because everything we do is accomplished with the help of friends. Our goal is to be able to help reduce the social inequality that reigns in our state and can increasingly help poor communities,” Rodrido Freire, Managing Director of the charity, explains.
They are looking for new or used clothes, non-perishable food (such as rice, beans, sugar, etc.), personal hygiene products (toilet paper, soap, etc.) and toys. They will pick up donations at your home. Contact Rodrigo here.
Gringos Buy & Sell
The Gringos Buy & Sell Facebook group, initially founded to provide a platform to trade furniture and household items among the foreigners’ community in Rio, has introduced a monthly charity focus. In July, INCA Cancer Hospital will be supported, which is looking for dry food, toothpaste, diapers, soap and socks. The drop-off is organized among the group’s members and has at this time two places in Barra and the Zona Sul (South Zone).
“So far I’ve had people volunteering to pick stuff up from their neighborhood to drop off at my place, it’s amazing how people can be really generous with their time and energy for a good cause,” Christa Pickering MacInnis, founder of the group explained.
For those who want to do do even more while traveling in Rio de Janeiro, there are a host of NGOs (non-profit organizations) that offer volunteer opportunities in many favelas and underprivileged communities.
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