Sophie’s Diary – May 5, 2017
I had such a wonderful time donating and volunteering at Tafel Kirchheim today together with the Partex Germany team. Tafel is an organization under the Red Cross in Germany. It is a grocery shop for low income people and families. Aniela Zajac has been running this grocery shop for 17 years. The shop is open three days a week and everyone is welcome to shop here, you just have to show a card from the social services. To manage the shop, she has 20 volunteers who take turns helping at the shop. The only time they receive any pay is for their gas when they go to collect food.
There are 120 families who shop here and they pay 1/3 of the price for food items they would pay in a grocery store. On average shoppers spend 5-20 €, which gives them many bags full of food. All of the food here comes from donations from other grocery stores, people, or markets who bring leftover items, or foods that they could not sell. Other donations come from boy scouts, who collect food from many generous people. The money that the people pay for the food items here, all goes back to the Red Cross, to help others.
Partex Germany’s Managing Director Andreas Blankenhorn and Partex employee Ellen Schmidt joined me to do volunteer work at the shop and bring all the items that we have bought to donate to Tafel Kirccheim. We bought 500 € worth of food which was the biggest donation they have ever received. This included,
– 50 kg of sugar
– 50 kg flour
– 50 kg rice
– 50 kg coffee
– 86 kg pasta
– 60 L cooking oil
– 24 L of noodle soup
– 24 big jars of preserved sausage
– 24 tin cans of tomato soup
– 20 jars of strawberry marmalade
We arrived there in good time before the store was about to open, we introduced ourselves and then started to put all goods we bought on the shelves. Aniela cried tears of joy when she saw all of the items we bought. It was so moving to be able to contribute to her great work and cause. At 10:00 we opened the doors for people to shop. I sold pieces of bread for 5 cents/each. This gave me the great opportunity to meet and talk to some of the families shopping. I met two families from Syria. The first family had been living here for two years and have three children and a baby. They got lots of food for 15 €.
The second family had only been living here for two months and had two children. It was great to hear that the mother was already fluent in German, as her husband attends school and then teaches her at home. They bought lots of food for 14 €.
I then met a woman from Brazil who has been living in Germany for 20 years, she explained how it worked to claim social welfare from town hall and then receive a card that entitles them to shop here. I also met a man from Syria who’s been living in Germany for almost two years. He was previously a lawyer in Syria. He spoke very good German and shops here every day that they are open. As well, I met an interpreter from Syria who also shops here every day and a German woman who bought a bag full of food for only 4 €.
It was amazing to see the amount of food these people and families could buy for a low cost. Andreas, Ellen and I were all so impressed by the hard work and dedication from Aniela and her volunteer staff. Without them and their great work, many of these people would struggle to put food on the table for their families. Today has been such a great day and I feel so happy to have been able to donate many needed items and best of all, meet many great people and hear their stories!
Founder and Chairman of Lööf Foundation