Feriebank gives 750 families a good summer: ‘Depends on sponsors and volunteers’

The summer vacation. A time to seek relaxation, to go on vacation. But for many people this is not obvious because of the economic situation. Feriebanken helps with that. Project manager Pim Loeff is proud.

Hey Pim! The holiday bank. How is it going this year?
“Actually, it’s going really well. This year we can send around 750 families from all over the country on holiday. These are families living below the poverty line who do not have the finances to take a vacation. We are a kind of mediation agency where we connect supply and demand. And it’s going well.”

You are at Ulgersmaweg in Stad. And you actually spend the whole year trying to get this done, huh?
“Correct. The holiday takes place in the period from May to autumn, where we primarily focus on the May, summer and autumn holidays. Registration opens in September. Families can then register. Registration closes when we have about a thousand registrations. It sounds like a lot , and it is, but if you consider that right now there are about 300,000 families living around the poverty line, we can only offer a very small group something beautiful.”

You register as a family. How’s it going?
“First of all, you are dependent on the supply of holiday bungalows, caravans and campsites. For example, we work together with Oostappen Groep Vakantieparken from Peter Gillis. You can find anything you want from Mr Gillis, but he makes sure people can go to his holiday parks at a discount during the holiday weeks. While he could also have rented out those houses for a much higher amount. I have great respect for that. In addition, we depend on gifts and donations. It makes it possible to really let people go on vacation. And it requires a lot of administration. You want to connect situations and opportunities in the right way. For example, if you have a pet, such a family must end up in a house where pets are allowed. Or if you have a small child, then the house must also suit them.”

You sound enthusiastic, but there is also a sound that can be heard somewhere where there are concerns too…
“The concerns are exaggerated, but yes. Look, we’re pretty well known on the poverty side, a lot of people know where to find us. We also have good contacts with the food banks in the Netherlands. At the same time, the Food Bank is a widespread concept. In fact, we would like to be as well known as the Food Bank. Because if you look at the other end of the spectrum, we also depend on volunteers, entrepreneurs who offer something and on people and organizations who give gifts. And it’s going very well, but we still need a piece of fame. Because the more that come in, the more people we can help.”

Is it a problem to find volunteers?
“Yes, in itself. We now have ten volunteers with whom we do everything possible. But you can see that it is very difficult to find new volunteers and that people also leave quickly. The reasons are understandable, but what you actually would like to have as a foundation is for people to be active with you for a longer period of time, so that you can really work with quality. So if people want to help us, they can certainly contact us.”

The geopolitical situation means that more and more people have less to spend. Are you worried about the future?
“As I said, around 300,000 people currently live around the poverty line. There will be more. As a foundation, we do what we can. To offer as many people as possible a wonderful holiday. Being away for a week. No stress and worry for a while. And children who can tell beautiful stories when they go back to school after the holidays. But we depend on people who want to help us. So also in that area, if you want to help us as an entrepreneur in the holiday sector, or if you want to make a donation, we would very much like to get in touch with you.”

More information about the Holiday Bank can be found on this website.

In 2017, reporter Erick Bakker did a report on De Vakantiebank:

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