“The smallest gesture makes the biggest difference” is the slogan chosen by Mar Shopping Algarve in Loulé for its latest charity initiative which aims to help homeless people start new lives.
The shopping centre is encouraging its visitors to donate any new or second-hand household appliances they no longer need to GATO (Grupo de Apoio a Toxicodependentes), an Algarve-based association providing support to recovering drug addicts and homeless people.
In Loulé, GATO is implementing two projects – Apartamentos Partilhados (Shared Apartments) and Projeto Casa Ajuda (Project House Help) – which provide homes for the homeless.
The homes are equipped with furniture but are still in need of household items such as ironing boards, TVs, toasters, coffee machines and blenders as well as towels, pillows, blankets, quilts, sheets, lamps, and kitchen and bathroom accessories.
Donations can be made at the shopping centre’s information desk until March 31.
Explains GATO, 10 homeless people will be temporarily moving into two shared apartments (with a capacity for 10 people) while five will move into individual apartments.
Described as “pioneering in the Algarve”, these projects hope to help the homeless reintegrate into society by promoting their independence whilst still providing support through a team that assists them with their health, education, employment, hygiene and home management.
The projects – created following the signing of a protocol between Portugal’s Social Security Institute and several local associations as part of the National Strategy for the Integration of People in Homeless Situations – are locally supported by Loulé Council but are also being implemented in Lisbon and Porto.
GATO is a private social solidarity institution (IPSS) based in Faro that was established over 30 years ago. Its core goal is to help people who struggle with drug addiction and substance abuse as well as underprivileged citizens and children and youngsters in risky situations. The association also focuses on promoting gender equality.