As more and more Greeks find it hard to get a nutritious meal on their table, private initiatives manage the impossible. They provide families and persons with that what they cannot afford anymore: with food. One of the first initiatives established for this purpose is the non-profit organization BOROUME (“We Can”). BOROUME developed a network and organizes the distribution of surplus food to the poor and needy.
Founded in January 2012 upon the initiative of Xenia Papastavrou who observed that while the number of undernourished people increase tons of fresh food from restaurants etc end up in the garbage bins every day.
“The initial idea of linking donors of surplus food, such as restaurants, bakeries, pastry shops, etc. with potential beneficiaries, i.e. welfare institutions, soup kitchens, municipal social services, was conceived by Xenia Papastavrou, when, during a family dinner in May 2011, she realized how much food would end in the garbage on that particular day just by one restaurant.
Ms. Papastavrou had been for many years a volunteer at the Food Bank (Ίδρυμα Τράπεζας Τροφίμων) and tried to complement the actions of the Food Bank, that mostly donates packaged food, by setting up a website that would help donors of fresh food to save it by giving it to the right recipients,” BOROUME told us in an e-mail.
The operational scheme is simple and based on voluntary work:
BOROUME records and communicates the needs of welfare institutions, social services of districts, soup kitchens and people in need but also the donations of fresh, cooked and packaged food or other goods from companies, hotels, bakeries and private people from all over Greece.
Then BOROUME connect the donors and the beneficiaries according to geographic promixity criteria of both parties. The final step is to arrange the delivery of the donations directly to the beneficiaries.
Impressive are the number of success. According to July 2012 data, through Boroume 1500-5000 portions of food were distributed on a weekly basis and 2000-6000 people received assistance. More than 100 companies offered food and fresh products, while 50 catering companies offer food on a regular -daily or weekly- basis and 25 hotels offer over an average of 50 meals per week.
Can you help?
While everyone can donate food or other goods, I have been thinking of the some 100 foreign diplomatic missions in Greece that host cocktail or dinner parties and other events that leave behind trays full of surplus on food.
Upon KTG’s request, BOROUME informed us that it has already cooperated with at least three embassies in Athens who contacted the initiative and asked to be linked to nearby welfare institutions.
I bet, you can also do your charity share and help the poor and the needy in Greece.
You can also call directly +30 210 3237805
Just think that according to the European Commission, 27,7% of the Greek population lives below the poverty line, (i.e. their income is lower than 60% of the national per capita income) or is socially excluded. Just think that one in four Greeks is without work and income, that low pensioners have to decide whether they will eat or buy their medication. Just think of the many children that will be excluded from the children’s feast, that is Christmas.
I am sure there will be a surplus from the embassies pre- and after- Christmas & New Year parties. And if there are not left-overs because embassies are also on tight budget, I am sure there can be a donation of 2-3 Christmas turkeys or some chicken or meat, or cookies…
Do not let Santa or baby Jesus just pass them by…
PS I know KTG-ians are social sensitive people