As well as supporting companions to rebuild their lives after homelessness, we show support and carry out solidarity actions to help other causes, charities and initiatives.
For the people who complete acts of solidarity, it can also bring many personal benefits to their health, wellbeing and understanding of the world.
The dictionary definition of solidarity is to show support for each other or another group, especially in political or international affairs.
Solidarity is helping others who are vulnerable or experiencing difficulties. It involves standing together and supporting one another in times of need, without judgement or discrimination. It can be expressed through various actions, such as donations, activism, or volunteering, all aimed at promoting the greater good of society. Solidarity is a powerful force that can inspire positive change.
It is all about uniting in a common goal to help others in greater need, with every small act of kindness collectively making a world of difference.
At Emmaus, solidarity is one of our core values. Emmaus founder, Abbé Pierre, encouraged everyone to “serve first those most in need,” and we continue to live by this philosophy.
Today, solidarity at Emmaus takes many forms. In the UK, each group holds an annual Solidarity Sale, donating the day’s proceeds to the Emmaus International solidarity fund.
As well as taking part in the annual sale, groups and communities across the UK carry out regular acts of solidarity throughout the year for both local, national and international causes. Each community carries out actions based on what they can do, the interests and skills of companions and the needs of their local community.
For some, it may involve one-off events, fundraising or volunteering. Others offer services to people in the local community experiencing financial hardship, such as social supermarkets, free launderettes, free school uniforms, or warm spaces where people can spend some time. A number of Emmaus communities also choose to help people who are sleeping rough, by providing soup kitchens or handing out food, blankets and other essentials.
Volunteers from Emmaus Village Carlton regularly take part in a ‘Rucksack Stomp’ to support people who are street homeless.
Emmaus Glasgow is one of several Emmaus communities that welcomed refugees from Ukraine as part of the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme..
The impact of solidarity is far-reaching, going beyond the initial act. Not only does it provide vital support for people experiencing difficulties, but it is also beneficial to those who carry out solidarity actions as it helps people to feel an inner happiness. It also creates waves of kindness as people witnessing solidarity acts can feel inspired to take action themselves.
Solidarity can be very valuable for Emmaus companions as it is often key to helping to rebuild self-esteem and enables them to give back, proving that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the lives of others. Taking part in solidarity helps companions rebuild feelings of self-worth as they recognise that they have something to offer. Helping others can help companions feel rewarded, fulfilled and empowered.
Throughout June, Emmaus communities and groups across the UK are holding Solidarity Sale days to raise funds for people across the world who are experiencing poverty or disadvantage. Proceeds will go to the Emmaus International Solidarity Fund, where they will be distributed to those most in need.
Find your local Emmaus to see when and where your nearest Solidarity Sale is taking place.
Emmaus communities will also be using the month to shine a light on other ways they make a difference in their local communities through acts of solidarity. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates.
Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire donate food and essentials to Coventry food banks.
Emmaus Salford runs a school uniform hub, where families can benefit from free uniforms and shoes.
Emmaus Leeds works with a local older people's charity, inviting residents to share meals cooked by companions.