The Food Bridge vzw is starting a new project ‘The Hope Circle’ subsidized by the ‘Connecting Brussels’ call for projects of the Vlaams Gemeenschapcommissie (VGC) office of Pascal Smet.
Metropolitan cities can make some people feel invincible even in the best of times, although they are surrounded by so many people. With the covid restrictions many people are struggling to maintain social contacts and feel isolated. Thus we want to provide an opportunity for people ( especially those who feel that they are in the margins of society) to connect again to the Brussels community, by not just sharing their stories but also by reading the stories from other people.
Our initiative creates an inter-generational and intercultural platform where positive memories and stories from participants are shared. In all cultures, storytelling especially around meals is a great way people build and maintain relationships, inspire, encourage and pass wisdom across generations.
This platform will have three main ways of collecting information. With the ‘Stories on a plate’, people use any plate of their choice as the basis of their stories. The story could be about the plate itself, the food in the plate or what the plate means to them especially during the Covid pandemic and lockdown. Their stories are shared on the platform with pictures of the plates with or without the individuals.
The fact that everyone uses a plate is already a connection but each plate is different although they serve the same purpose, just like their stories. Such exchanges and connections will encourage people and also show that their experience is recognized and validated too.
Secondly there will be contributions from children too. There will be sketches and paintings by children showing their favourite food or stories about meals during the lockdown. Children even in challenging times have an uncomplicated view of life that can be heart-warming and positive. Children love to draw; are very curious and perceptive of complicated situations in a very simple form. Their input in this project is aimed at making people look back at their own childhood and focus on the simple things that bring joy.
The finals collection will be stories from old people about memories of resilience and courage. The aim is to show that people will always encounter different challenges which could be natural, manmade or accidental but despite these, they can survive and thrive. We want to encourage people to keep their hope alive, by showing that people are not alone in their experiences and can overcome challenges.
Once the platform is activated, people will continue to add their stories for the duration of the project and even longer, thus connecting people in Brussels from all races, ages and social groups.
The Helping Hand Project