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New direct donation system to help most needy

Would you donate 20 euros to help buy a washing machine for a needy family? In eastern Helsinki, a new way of assisting those in financial need trials this autumn -- people can make a monetary donation online for a specific project such as helping a single mother of three children buy a new washing machine.

leipäjono myllypuro helsinki ruoka-apu elintarvikejakelu köyhyys
At the Herttoniemi congregation, hundreds of people are dependent on their foodbank daily. Image: Yle

The Christian charity organisation Kotimaanapu ('Domestic Aid') is working together with the Deaconess Institute on a new project that launches this September and aims to target financial help directly where it's needed.

How it works

An individual may approach a deaconess employee and let them know about a family in need -- with the specifics of what they need. If the Deaconess' own aid budget is insufficient, the employee can get in touch with Kotimaanapu.

Then, a collection will be started online, where the amount of money being raised and the goal – for example, 400 euros to buy a washing machine for a single mother with three children -- will be listed.

When the online collection has been started, anyone can make a donation of any sum and follow the fund-raising progress online, according to Kotimaanapu producer Ilkka Kalmanlehto.

"There are many people who are financially strapped and their basic needs are not being met," says Kalmanlehto. "This is a way of addressing that acute need."

Domestic aid

Kotimaanapu was founded a year ago and has already raised money in the cities of Oulu, Iisalmi and Tampere, for example, to buy much-needed new beds for families. In Iisalmi, money was raised for farmers who were experiencing difficulties.

This September, Kotimaaapu will start in Vartiokylä, which includes the congregations of Herttoniemi, Roihuvuori, Vuosaari and Vartiokylä. The plan is to later expand to other parts of Helsinki.

According to Kalmanlehto, transparency is key.  He says that of the raised money, 85 percent goes directly to those in need.

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