Zsuzsi Mátraházi supports our team mostly while sitting in front of her computer and providing support from the background – but we are very happy when we get to meet her in person, as she is one of our most cheerful team member. If you send us a donation, you will be coming in contact with her first.

What is your task within Budapest Bike Maffia? What do you do?

I keep in touch with private donors. Most of the things that we need we receive as donations, but of course we also need financial support. Like for our +1 Sandwich project: due to the large quantity of sandwiches collected by the kids, we are transporting the donations by car which means that we have to pay for petrol, and the driver as well. We have corporate backers, but they are someone else’s task, I keep in contact with our “small” contributors. I am the one who thanks them for their support, sends them their membership cards and gifts (for details on this please see our donor page). I also deal with some less-than-popular tasks; mostly sitting in front of an Excel sheet, writing memos and dealing with correspondence. I think of this as essential tasks that needs to be dealt with in order to facilitate the others’ work.

How and when did you meet the organization? How did you become a Bike Maffia volunteer?

At the beginning, I was only a financial supporter of BBM. Years ago, I was looking for an organization that was big enough so that they are not hopeless, but still small enough so they do not have to spend most of their money on their own operational costs. A friend of mine has suggested Budapest Bike Maffia, and I have started supporting them. Later – after a break-up – I have also went to one of their volunteer events because these are all the type of programs that you can just attend on your own. The people that you meet at these events are amazingly diverse, harmony created between them by everyone working together. Eventually I have also began to become familiar with BBM’s operations. Then, a couple of years ago there was a targeted volunteer recruitment call for a few specific tasks and that’s when I applied. I feel like I’ve found my cause and the way I like to help.

Do you have any memorable volunteer experiences?

I came in contact with true poverty several times. One winter we have visited a village at Heves county to cook at their community house, which is also the place where those in need get to go to wash their clothes and themselves. These sort of experiences really get you to put your own comfortable life into perspective. But it cheers me up to see how helpful people can be. There is someone, for example, who sends us less than a thousand forints a month because that is all they can afford. And then there are always great surprises too, like when last year a couple have asked their wedding party to donate to us as a wedding gift to them, and we have only learned about this from the note on our bank statement.

Why is it worth volunteering? If someone was still not sure about joining, what would you tell them?

Because it feels good to help, and you even get to have fun doing it. The way I see it, there are two ways to help. Either you are doing a new sort of thing that moves you out of your comfort zone, which is fundamentally good for you. Or you’re doing something that you are already really good at – which may not be so much fun for you to do but which helps a lot. As an example: in my work, I deal with GDPR plenty. Do you suppose it is my favourite pasttime to write the BBM Privacy Policy as a volunteer in my free time? Not so much… But it is something that I am able to do much easier than others. Of course, most things that we do are fun even if they are tiring. Like last May, after the Charity Fest have ended, I have felt fiercly tired but also overwhelmingly satisfied. These are the best things in life.

Photo by: István Juhász