The Tafel in Germany helps people with poor incomes cut 100euro (as good as dollars worth in their country) in food expenses a week.
Apparently as we know it, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone on the planet, but most of the food gets thrown away. Germany anyways, proved this to be true until they organized what they call the Tafel, where people qualifying under low incomes get the grocers rest, and are better fed. How do we do it too, how do we make sure the people don’t starve?
One retired woman, who is unable to work told me that “before the Tafel, I was starving sometimes. I saved all my loose change to feed Baby the cat, but I couldn’t feed myself enough. When they first took my picture for a Tafel ID, you can see I was crying. I had no food.” The Tafel helps by providing non- wealthy people with portions weekly.
Who can organize it, how do they do it, and why is this effective in Germany?
As a journalist I do the best I can to feel the story. I moved into the story, I become the story, I started as the poor- and I became the volunteer from 2011 to 2013.
This is the most important thing a city can do to help the poor get back on their feet, keep them fed, and promise them protection from the unexplainable
The city and the Tafel work together first by qualifying the people and by dividing the land- card areas of those with the income levels below an average of about 650 euros’, in living expenses.
All the people working at the Tafel are solely volunteers; the drivers, the office personnel, management, and the sorters, and distributers.
The Tafel is open four days out of the week.
Drivers drive from 11 to 3 daily making routinely stops at all of the grocery stores in each town, and most grocers leave food and products outside on the dock. Almost every store had donations. We drove through seven different towns to 11 different stores, and we filled the entire van from top to bottom. That was one day of work, from 11am to 3:30pm.
We unloaded cartons of food into the Tafel and immediately thereafter, volunteers refrigerated it or prepared it for the next working day. Four of five working days the Tafel is active. Each day a team is assigned to sorting the food. The preparation includes checking expiration dates and sorting the vegetables and fruits. Five people sort, from 10 to 2. And at 11 another team of five people arrive to prepares the still-good-food for distribution. They fill numbered cartoons with food equally. There are about 30 cartoons to fill each day, making 30 customers. Starting at 2PM and going to 4PM, people pick up their personalized portions at an assigned time.
How to get volunteers
My Team was all volunteers, no one was appointed to work from the City. But in most cases, the volunteers are the people who have no jobs. The city brings the people who have not been able to find jobs, and receive welfare to volunteer. If they do not volunteer they do not receive help. On a normal day, you will find 15 people working at the Tafel. Three volunteers work in the office, there are sometimes two drivers, there are five people sorting the food the drivers brought, and then there are five people preparing the food to be distributed- and then distributing the food. Each person works about 4 hours once a week, except for the manager, he comes and goes.