The AWCB strives to share the best of the American spirit in Belgium and beyond. Our HOPE Program (Humanitarian Outreach Program and Events) is a big part of this, allowing us to partner with and learn from local organizations working on behalf of vulnerable populations. These partnerships have contributed much to the club and its members, while also giving back to the community that we all now call home. Our club’s affiliation with the global Federation of American Women’s Clubs (FAWCO) likewise allows us to connect with like-minded women around the world, who are also working hand-in-hand with their communities on a local and global level.
In November and December, AWCB members joined together to participate in HOPE’s annual Angel Tree program for refugee families at the Alsemberg Red Cross and children at La Cité Joyeuse orphanage. Together, we provided over 60 gifts to brighten the holiday season. The Alsemberg center was gracious enough to include a group of AWCB members and their children in their St. Nicolas holiday party, where we met resident families and watched the gifts being handed out by St. Nicolas himself! All enjoyed coming together in community around a special Belgian tradition. The club, the Red Cross and La Cité Joyeuse thank all those who provided gifts and monetary donations to make the project a success.
In 2018, the AWCB will also continue its tradition of spending time with elderly and disabled residents of a local nursing home, many of whom have no families of their own. These visits combine a game of BINGO with prizes, refreshments, great quality time, and local language conversation. Interested members and friends should check the AWCB website for upcoming sessions.
Also in 2018, the AWCB gets a new outreach partner -our FAWCO sister club, the American Women’s Club of Anwerp. Specifically, we’ll join them in the Caring Hearts project to provide hand-crafted pillows to women recovering from breast cancer surgery. Members and friends will come together at the clubhouse and in other locations to create the special, heart-shaped pillows, which will then be given to university Hospitals around Belgium. Local demand for the pillows has been high since the Antwerp club began creating them in 2008, and we anticipate an enthusiastic response from survivors, family members and medical professionals.
The AWCB’s first Caring Hearts pillow-making session will take place on Monday, 22 January, with the help of members of the Antwerp club. We hope to continue these sessions quarterly or monthly. If you are looking for new ways to connect with fellow AWCB members and/or with your local community, please consider joining us at one of our upcoming sessions. All levels of skill and experience are welcome- we’ll have need for cutters and stuffers, as well as seamstresses and managers. As an extra incentive, we’ll celebrate the completion of the first AWCB Caring Hearts session with a lunch out at Ancho Mexican Kitchen in Waterloo. Please register to let us know how many helpers to anticipate!
No matter your skills, time or expertise- the AWCB has a way for you to be involved in the community. Please contact us and consult our web site to find a match!