In the city of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece, we have set up a project supporting a large group of refugees who are existing outside of the formal system which means that they are not staying in an official refugee camp. The numbers of this group vary on a weekly basis but can range from anything between 50 and 500 with over 40% of the group being children under the age of 10.
The majority of these people have been on the move for years now and can no longer physically, mentally or financially go on. As such, they are stuck living in terrible conditions on the streets of Thessaloniki with no way forward and no way back.
As this group exists outside of the official system, they receive no formal support so rely completely on small organizations like ours to fulfill all of their most basic needs from clothing to medical care to food.
When we first heard about this group we knew straight away that it was something we wanted to get involved with and support. As a result, we have now formed some fantastic relationships with other organizations on the ground including Soul Food Kitchen, Team Banana and IHA to ensure that this group of refugees receive 3 nutritious meals a day.
However, for us, it’s not just about the food we provide. Every time we give someone a meal our volunteers are having an individual interaction with them and giving an unspoken message which says, “you are not forgotten and there are still people who care”. From our experiences working in these situations, this message often means more to a person than the actual food we are providing.
We also try to find the time when we are not busy with food preparation and distribution to interact, play and dance with the children in order to bring a little bit of lightness to their very dark worlds. For the parents, this is also a time to relax and enjoy watching their children being children.
This project is now vital in ensuring that this group of people receive something to eat everyday and we would love to continue it for as long as possible. However, this all comes down to the donations we receive so if you think you can help us to sustain the provision of meals to hundreds of desperate refugees everyday, please consider making a donation or get in touch!
We always strive to be cooperative with other organizations, authorities and local residents as we believe that we can achieve more by working together
In May of 2016, we successfully undertook a mission in Northern Greece working in the Alexandreia Refugee Camp. The camp consists of nearly 1000 residents, 90% of which are Syrian and nearly 50% of which are children under the age of 10.
Our first task upon arriving in the camp was to get to know the residents and find out what they were missing from their diets and what they would like to eat. The response was overwhelming – everyone wanted fresh produce!
So, we got to work immediately and went about sourcing hundreds of kilos of fruit and veg – which was not an easy task! Rather than ask people to queue to receive the food, we decided to prepare packs for all 150 families in the camp and deliver them personally each day to their tents.
Although a more time consuming process, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know the residents and to build their trust. The feedback from the residents was very positive, one woman told us that it was, “the first time my children have eaten anything fresh in months” and another told us that it was “the best thing that has happened to us on our journey so far”.
As our name suggests, we are not just about food, so in addition to the food deliveries, we also used some of our time in Alexandreia to bring a little bit of fun and happiness to the children in the camp. We did this by running a series of lively, interactive games and activities which all the children could get involved in. It went down a treat! For once, the children there were allowed to be children and could play for a few hours without stress, trauma and worry they have been carrying for a long time.
We are flexible in the type, quantity and timing of our food distributions based on the requirements of the group
What we do
We provide vital meals and compassion to refugees and displaced people in crisis
We always try to support the local community and economy when purchasing and distributing food in an area
All of our work is led and run by unpaid volunteers who cover all of their own costs associated with undertaking the foodKIND mission
On the ground missions:
Our passionate volunteers work in areas where there are a significant number of refugees and displaced people to provide food and compassion to those in need.
These missions focus not only on the distribution of food but on the human to human interactions which bring relief and dignity to those in crisis
When providing food to refugees in crisis, we always take the time to find out exactly what their nutritional needs and wants are – we never assume
We are very happy to announce that at the beginning of 2017 we launched a brand new food project in Patras, Greece with the support of our great friends at IHA - InterEuropean Human Aid Association!!
This project will involve the distribution of 2 meals a day to as many as 250 refugees including a significant number of unaccompanied minors. With no formal support, this group is living day to day in an abandoned factory. Our desire is to provide these people with something hot to eat, care and compassion and most importantly, hope.
As a new project, we are still operating with very basic facilities and this is where we need YOU!
Can you help us to turn this space into a fully functioning kitchen which will provide essential meals for those in crisis? Perhaps you can sponsor the gas for a month or maybe buy us some new ladels? What ever you can do, it will make a BIG difference!