Make a difference!
(For most of these activities, you need a certain level of Norwegian.)
In Oslo there are very many lonely people or people who can´t manage to do practical things themselves. You can make a difference through something as easy as going with your mat or pat friends to the cafe at an old people´s home instead of the regular café. You can also be a ´besøksvenn´ for an old person, and many ´bydeler´ (City Districts) need volunteers. Read below for more info on this :)
Go the the café at an old people´s home
Many seniors find it rewarding to be around babies. I took my maternity group to the cafe in the Ensjøtunet residence and it was very successful (see picture at the top of the page!). The elderly were very interested in the babies and the babies seemed to really appreciate the company :). A bonus is that you can practice your Norwegian, as most of these people don´t speak English! You´ll find a list of old people´s homes with cafés here and here´s the page for Ensjøtunet. Contact the frivillighetskoordinator or the manager before popping by the first time.
Visit a lonely person in a nursery home
In many of the city´s nursery and retirement homes, there are lonely people who would love a visit or someone to take a walk with. AND you get to practice your Norwegian! Here is a list of the nursery homes in Oslo and here is a list of other homes in your ´bydel´ (City District). Contact a home where you live and ask if there is a need. Personally, I contacted Sofienbergsenteret and they did indeed need more volunteers :) You should have a decent level of Norwegian, as most of the elderly don´t speak English. If you don´t speak Norwegian you can ask if they have any English-speakers.
Make a difference in your neighborhood
In each of Oslo´s ´bydeler´ there are "Community Service Centers" (Frivillighetssentraler). These centers coordinate those who want to volunteer in their neighborhoods. In many bydeler you can contribute through visiting an older person (besøksvenn), help someone with shopping or picking up medicine, sort clothes in their second-hand stores, and much more. Contact the frivillighetssentral close to you and make a difference in your neighborhood! Often they would prefer that you´re able to speak some Norwegian, but some have told me that even if you don´t there can still be room for your services! You won´t´know before you ask :)
See here for centers in Oslo East and here for Oslo West. Below I´ve listed some of the specific needs for some of the centers:
Needs people to visit elderly - read more here. If you´re interested, send an email to email@example.com or call 22 52 30 05.
Need some help in their second-hand store and some practical tasks in people´s homes. Read more here. If you´re interested, call 22 15 41 20 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sagene frivillighetssentral would like to arrange parents and children meetings once a week. They have a playroom for kids and it´s possible to buy waffles and sandwiches. They could also need someone to visit lonely people. or help out with other things. Read more here. if you´re interested, visit them in Sandakerveien 61 on a weekday between 8 and 16. You can also have a look at their Facebook-page!
Stovnerskogen nursery home needs people to come and visit some of their residents and maybe do some shopping. Read more here. Come by at Høybråten Stasjon or call 22 21 79 67.
They need people to come and visit lonely people and maybe do some shopping. Read more here. If you´re interested, come by Rødstua by Ekeberghallen bus stop, call 221 95 800 / 988 58 037 or send an email to email@example.com.
Bydel Alnas frivillighetssentraler
Need for visiting lonely people or going for walks with them, shopping, and more. Read more here.
See here for other "bydeler"!
You can also read the Frivillighetsportalen´s pages.
Do you have tons of toys you want to get rid of? Many places in Oslo could need some toys. Maybe you and your mat/pat group could stroll over to some of these places with your toys? Here´s a list of places where you can donate toys in Oslo.
Oslo Krisesenter (Women´s Shelter)
Right now the krisesenter has a lot of teddybears and legos, so they would love some other toys. These can be delivered between 8am and 8pm on weekdays.
See here for their contact information. You have to call the center as it has a secret address.
Fattighuset (Poor people´s centre)
Fattighuset would love to receive toys from Monday through Thursday between 10 and 3.30pm in Grønlandsleiret 39. See also Fattighusets Facebook page.
Transit Reception Centers for Asylum Seekers
The Centers in Torshov and Refstad will be pleased to receive toys, but mainly plastic ones that can be easily cleaned. Open 24/7. Come by whenever in Torshovgata 46 (opposite the Trikkestallen) or Sinsenveien 76.
Frelsesarmeen (Salvation Army)
Frelsesarmeen accepts Christmas gifts such as used clothes or toys. You can do this through a Fretex store or your local Salvation Army branch. Read more on this page: www.frelsesarmeen.no.
Other places you can ask are your helsestasjon, your doctor´s office, your day care or at the hospital´s children´s departments. All of these are often very happy to receive toys, but they prefer toys that are easily cleaned.
Donate to children abroad
Norwegian NGOs that I´ve been in touch with do not have systems for collecting toys for donation abroad.
Make someone happy
During our mat or pat leave we tend to go for walks and eat cake at cafés, and that´s not all bad! But why not use this time to do something useful? Go to the café in a retirement home, visit a lonely person, shop for those who can not do it themselves, give away toys to those in need, etc.