Salvation Army in France and Belgium switch on #FreePlugs campaign

The Salvation Army in France and Belgium launched a campaign encouraging citizens to provide complimentary access to electricity so people in need can recharge their mobile telephones. During the COVID-19 lockdown, access to charging points in shops, cafes, day centers and other public venues has been curtailed.

“The consequence is that homeless people can’t remain in touch with their loved ones, or even make an emergency call if they have a problem,” said David Germain, Communications Director for The Salvation Army in France and Belgium.

Named #FreePlugs ­­—after the #FreeHugs movement that was popularized before the introduction of social distancing —the campaign invites people to make a power extension cord safely available at the door or window of their home.

“It may not change the world, but it’s just one way for us to show that The Salvation Army continues to care about people,” Germain said. “We can’t hug, but we can plug!”

A poster is available for participating households to display in their window, and Germain said he hopes that the campaign might spread to other countries. “We have nothing to lose,” he said. “This is a very low-cost initiative, but it makes the world of difference to a vulnerable person who can be reconnected with the people who are important in their lives. It will be even more powerful if the idea is taken up in other places.”

See updates on The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response, including an interactive Google Map, at


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