Our Members - Our Community - For Humanity

November is here and it’s that time of the year to be thankful and share.  Some members of our Belgian Club community in Northern California have worked for many years in helping others in amazing humanitarian ways.  Some created non-profit organizations, while others dedicate so much of their time and energy to non-profits. But, when they started their effort, each one of them wanted to make a difference in this world for the less fortunate.
So this year, as the Board of the Belgian Club of Northern California, we are so proud to share with you briefly their stories, and present to you their organizations.  We hope you will find some inspiration, you may want to contribute by volunteering, or even by sending a generous donation in the name of BCNC to one, or more, of these incredible non-profits during this 2018 season of sharing.  In advance, we thank you to support the efforts of our BCNC members.


JW House - The Knapen Family

Diagnosed with Leukemia as a child, then with a brain tumor as a teen, JW Knapen was no stranger to hospitals and the intolerable amount of time treatments kept him away from his family, especially his little sisters and brother.  So, when JW’s tumor worsened, he joined forces with his oncologist and dedicated himself to raising money to build a “home away from home” near his hospital in Santa Clara, so that families could be near one another during difficult medical stays.  JW’s motto was “Never, Ever Give Up!”, and he also believed in the power of talking together, loving together, and sharing good feelings. JW’s dream didn’t take long to blossom into an international project - with money raised fromaround the world.
Since its grand opening in 2008, JW House has provided families with loved ones undergoing medical treatment a welcoming place to get a good night’s sleep, a home cooked meal, or even just a shower, a listening ear, a good cup of coffee.  As JW envisioned, it provides a safe place for families to face the challenges of illness together, inspiring hope and allowing for the respite and self-care needed during tough times.
BCNC Members Anne Marie and Geert Knapen would be happy to show you around JW very special house (www.jwhouse.org/tour)!  For more information, making a gift, or even volunteer, please visit the website at jwhouse.org.  Thanks for your help!  

Sahaya International - Koen van Rompay

In 1997, BCNC member Koen Van Rompay, a Belgian veterinarian and HIV/AIDS researcher at UC-Davis traveled to a conference in India to present his research.  Outside the conference halls, Koen was shocked by the poverty, and felt he had to do something. At the conference, he met an Indian social worker who had started a grassroots organization to help people in his rural area.  Koen decided to help him. His efforts grew and in 1999, together with friends, he started in California the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Sahaya International (Sahaya means “help” in Sanskrit).
While their initial focus was India, over the years they also started to support programs in Vietnam, Kenya and the Philippines.  Programs include orphan sponsorship, education, HIV/AIDS, schools for special children, formation of women self-help groups with entrepreneurship, vocational training, and construction of simple homes.  For more info or giving opportunities, visit www.sahaya.org.  You can also watch the short inspiring documentary, “Sahaya Going Beyond”, narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, at http://vimeo.com/65517422.  Thank you!

Superatec - Herman de Kesel

SUPERATEC is a Venezuelan non-profit founded in 2002 by BCNC member Herman De Kesel (d. 2004).
A Spanish acronym for Personal Growth through Technology, SUPERATEC combats Venezuelan poverty by offering computer literacy and personal development training in low-income communities throughout Venezuela, based on three basic pillars: citizenship, technology and employment.
The foundation’s 25 training centers operate in underprivileged areas of Venezuela’s nine states. By year-end 2017, nearly 40,000 SUPERATEC students - youths and adults - had completed the program, enhancing their employability and workplace productivity.  As a result, impoverished communities throughout Venezuela enjoy reduced unemployment, better incomes and a higher standard of living.
For more information about SUPERATEC, visit https://superatec.org.ve/. Donations can be made online (http://resourcefnd.org/) or by check payable to The Resource Foundation (SUPERATEC in memo), 237 West 35th St., Suite 1203, New York, NY 10001. Donations are tax deductible.  Thank you!

African Library Project - Sofie Vandeputte

African Library Project has set up children libraries for schools and communities in Ghana, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Kenya.  Each library consists of 1,000 books. Volunteers, such as ongoing BCNC member Sofie and her family, helps African Library Project by actively collecting lightly used children books in English (fiction/non-fiction up to reading level of 8th grade).
Got Children Books?  And your family has outgrown them, contact Sofie so she’ll work with you to get these books to children in rural Africa who will have a chance to enjoy them as much as your children did.  To participate in this effort in other ways, we welcome your online donations at AfricanLibraryProject.org for assistance including with shipping costs.  The cost to ship one box is approx. $25; an entire library $600.  For answer to any questions you may have or to set up a time to pick up books around the Bay Area, contact sofie_vandeputte@yahoo.com.  Thank you!

SF Turkey Drive - Pierre Smit

The SF Turkey Drive was started in 2012 by BCNC member Pierre from his house inviting neighbors and friends to bring turkeys so he can bring it to the St Anthony’s Dining Room to feed the hungry.  The following year, St Emydius Church joined his project. Now, the SF Turkey Drive is an important part of the food collection for the poor and homeless families in San Francisco.
This is a 2-day per year collection of turkeys, hams and fresh vegetables in the parking lot of St. Emydius, and a 2-month fundraiser by internet for everyone who wishes to contribute.  All food collected is brought to St Anthony, and all By-Internet-Gift of Turkeys (BIG Turkeys) are made from our website and linked to St. Anthony.  In the past 2 years, SF Turkey Drive has collected over 1,000 turkeys and other food, serving about 15,000 meals to feed folks who depend on this organization for their daily survival.  St. Anthony’s mission is to feed, heal, shelter, clothe, lift the spirits of those in need, and create a society in which all persons flourish. This mission is guided by five values: healing, community, personalism, justice, and gratitude.

We welcome everyone at the drop off site happening this year on Saturdays Nov. 17 and Dec. 22 from 9 am till noon.  Location: 350 De Montfort Avenue, San Francisco. For more information, or to make a BIG-Turkey donation, visit SFTurkeyDrive.com.  Volunteers are welcomed.  Contact: SFPierre@aol.com.  Together, we CAN take a bite out of hunger in our local community. Thank you!