Rush of volunteers this Christmas

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Humanitarian organizations have been reporting a rush of Norwegians willing to volunteer this Christmas, for projects to serve food to the poor and generally bring some Christmas cheer to shut-ins, drug addicts and others needing help.

The rush began as early as last summer, just after the terrorist attacks on July 22, according to Wibecke Aasnæs of Frelsesarmeen (The Salvation Army) in Oslo. “I’ve never had requests from people wanting to help around Christmas so early,” Aasnæs told newspaper Aftenposten.

Some organizations including The Salvation Army, Oslo’s urban mission known as Kirkens Bymisjon and a group hosting an “Alternative Christmas” event actually had to turn volunteers away because they had all they needed on Christmas Eve. Most were then willing to lend a hand on Christmas Day and throughout the week between Christmas and New Year, called romjul in Norway.

“Most of us use so much energy in shopping centers at Christmas,” one of the volunteers, Øyvind Fosse, told Aftenposten. “We can rather use the energy to do something for people who really need it.” Fosse planned to spend Christmas Eve cooking, serving, cleaning up and talking with guests at an annual dinner for the poor at Oslo’s cathedral (Domkirken).

Views and News staff