In Saturday’s charity food collection in the Czech Republic, people in shops donated 440 tons of goods, specifically 396 tons of food and 44 tons of drugstore products. Despite this year’s coronavirus restrictions, the campaign reported a record result.
The collection now continues in e-shops and the promised corporate and community collections will probably bring other goods too.
On Saturday, people could donate purchased goods at hundreds of stores.
“Despite the extremely demanding hygienic conditions, the collection took place in all 603 stores and went without any problems,” stated the organizers.
According to them, the collection was more important than ever because the coronavirus epidemic caused a significant increase in the number of people facing economic difficulties, which has resulted in food bank warehouses being depleted of goods.
The situation of food banks this year was further complicated by the fact that the spring collection was canceled due to the first wave of the epidemic.
“Inventories in food warehouses have thus been kept to a minimum. We would like to thank all donors who are not indifferent to the fate of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion,” said Veronika Láchová, director of the Czech Federation of Food Banks.
The acquired goods will be sorted and handed over by food banks to non-profit organizations which distribute them to single mothers, single seniors, families in crisis, the homeless, and people with mental and physical disabilities.
Láchová has previously stated that in September and October, Czechs’ interest in aid from food banks increased by about 40 percent. Among the new applicants are especially people who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus or have minimal incomes.
Retailers are also going to make extraordinary donations, their representatives said. For example, Tesco will increase the donations of its customers with other foods by 20 percent, Penny Market is donating four million korunas instead of actively participating in the autumn collection. Rohlik.cz will add ten tons of food, and Globus will donate goods for CZK 370,000.
The President of the Association of Trade and Tourism, Tomáš Prouza, said that retail chains donate goods to food banks throughout the year.
“For example, this year it was almost 5,000 tons of food in ten months,” he said.
The coronavirus epidemic affected the organization of the collection. There were a maximum of two volunteers with protective equipment at the collection point and the handover of the donated goods was contactless. While last year more than 4,000 volunteers took part in the collection, this year there were just about 600.
The food collection is organized by the Czech Federation of Food Banks and Food Banks in cooperation with the Confederation of Trade and Tourism, the Association of Social Responsibility, and the non-profit organizations Caritas Czech Republic, the Salvation Army, Hope, and the Silesian Diaconate. The collection has been held since 2013, and last year it took place twice a year for the first time.
Title image: An employee disinfects a shopping basket at a grocery store in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, March 19, 2020. Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 only people older than 65 years are allowed to grocery stores and pharmacies between 10-12 am in the Czech Republic. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)