Finnish NGOs are gearing up for a charity drive to help provide food assistance to families in need. "On the surface, a family may appear to be doing well, but perhaps the children have not had an evening meal," said Salvation Army marketing director Anne Fredriksson.
The organisation is currently running a campaign titled "Help people" in a bid to provide support to families that are down on their luck. The programme also aims to assist people living alone, isolated seniors and young people at risk of marginalisation.
The funds raised will be used to provide vouchers that can be used to purchase essential items such as food. A similar campaign that ran last year raised a total of 1.9 million euros. This year the goal is an even two million euros.
Meanwhile 10 chapters of the Finnish Red Cross (SPR) nationwide will also distribute food aid provided by both the EU as well as food retailers.
Last year SPR handed out some 60,000 kilograms of EU food aid. This year the NGO expects to share out nearly 70,000 kilograms.
Hursti Foundation: Numbers in need rising
Heikki Hursti of the Hursti Charitable Foundation in Helsinki said that the number of people in need of day-to-day food assistance has increased by a factor of 10 during the past 10 years.
”Before there were 200 – 300 [people] coming for help, but now they are 2,800 – 3,000 every time we distribute,” he added.
The organisation distributed food aid on Wednesdays and Fridays and also provides clothing on Mondays.
Earlier this month, Yle reported that Metallica, politician Harry "Hjallis" Harkimo and regular good Samaritans had all pitched in a total of 200,000 euros to help the Hursti Foundation provide food and other aid to the needy in Helsinki.