The Hellenic Initiative Australia announced last Wednesday that it will renew AU$71,000 of funding for a non-profit program which provides fresh food for soup kitchens, refugee shelters, hospices and 32 charities in two of Greece’s largest cities.
The announcement marks the fourth consecutive year that THI Australia has renewed its financial support of the program, which is run by Boroume, an Athens-based non-profit organization which aims to reduce food waste and fight malnutrition.
Boroume reduces the waste by saving food that would otherwise be thrown out at urban farmer’s markets and offering it to charities supporting vulnerable people.
At the Athens soup kitchen run by the church of St. Sophia in Neo Psychiko, an average 150 people per day receive meals made from Boroume’s salvaged food. The individuals also receive fresh produce to cook at home.
With the support of THI Australia over the past three years, Boroume has collected and donated more than 835,500 pounds of fresh produce — equivalent more than 1.5 million food portions — from weekly neighborhood farmers markets in Athens and Thessaloniki.
“The Hellenic Initiative Australia is proud to have partnered with Boroume for the past four years to support the expansion of the Farmers Market Program,” THI Australia President Nicholas Pappas said. “Despite the COVID-19 disruption of the past few months, the farmers markets have continued to generously donate food to help people in need.”
Boroume operates at 21 markets in Athens and six in Thessaloniki, with more markets expected to collaborate within the next year. Since its inception in 2012, the organization has saved and donated more than 36 million portions of food.
“As well as providing tons of fresh food to the needy every year, the Farmers’ Market Program connects and inspires communities to support each other,” Pappas said. “The farmers help local charities and welfare organizations to support the most vulnerable, the program attracts local and international volunteers and everyone plays a role in reducing food waste.”
With the grant announced today, THI Australia has committed a total of $249,000 to support the operation of the Farmers’ Market Program since 2017.
Boroume co-founder Alexander Theodoridis said he welcomed the support from THI Australia, which he said comes at a critical time as the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on families.
“There has already been an upward trend in the number of people approaching welfare organizations for help,” Theodoridis said. “But we expect this to increase significantly from September, given the expected fallout from the substantial decrease in tourism [in Greece] this summer.”
Pappas said THI Australia remains “deeply concerned” about the pandemic’s impact on vulnerable members of Greek society.
“We are pleased to be assisting charities to support people with their basic nutritional needs through the Farmers Market Program,” he said. “We should not underestimate the broader social, environmental and economic impact of the Farmers’ Market Program and Boroume’s many other food saving initiatives.”
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