Budapest is our favourite city in Europe, it's fun, cheap and beautiful, but we were so sad to see so many homeless people there.
There are also a handful of non-profit charities in Budapest, working to feed, clothe, house and help homeless people. We wanted to find out more about them.
Volunteering with Budapest Bike Maffia
We went with them for two nights and this is what it was like:
We started off by going to Aldi and buying sandwich provisions with the donations made to BBM.
[If you'd like to donate to Budapest Bike Maffia, you can do so here: DONATIONS for BBM]
Next we went to one of Budapest's coolest pubs: Eleszto. They kindly let BBM and another food charity use their back room free of charge. (They also serve the best cherry beer.)
We sat in that backroom and started making sandwiches with other volunteers and BBM members. Making the sandwiches took a long time (we made like 100) but it was a good opportunity to talk to the other people there and hear their thoughts.
Once the sandwiches had been made, they were loaded into backpacks and panniers and we whizzed across the city handing them out.
Handing out sandwiches on bikes proved to be very useful for two reasons:
1. We could cover a lot more ground a lot faster than if we'd been on foot (obviously).
2. Lots of members had got into BBM because they love cycling and were looking for a group to share that enthusiasm, helping the homeless was an added bonus.
Giving out the sandwiches felt like a really nice thing to do. And it didn't just stop there. BBM were also handing out disposable cameras. The homeless people could take photos of Budapest through their eyes (similar to the HONY project). When they give the cameras back they each get about $7, and the one with the best photo wins $50.
After we'd finished giving out the sandwiches, we shared some beers with BBM. They were all such lovely people and they told us about their other projects - like trying to stop one of the biggest green spaces in Budapest being concreted over.
We really like the way that BBM combine lots of things like socialising and biking to create a system to help others.
The second time we went with BBM was quite similar to the first, with a few differences: Strike Bikes kindly lent us bikes to use (the bikes were awesome); one of the members of BBM brought some leftover soup from their work to use; and I cried my eyes chopping an onion 👍.
To find out more check out BBM's website: bbm.hu/en/ and check out the YouTube videos we made about volunteering with them:
We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same! We also want to make it clear that we sometimes use “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.