” German: Food Banks and Charities are Having a Difficult Time in Keeping up With Demand”

#AceWorldNews says  according to Der Speigel in mid-October in a Wetzlar church hall, about 200 visitors sat in rows of tightly packed chairs, leaning against the walls with their arms crossed and sullen expressions on their faces, or standing in front of the open doorway, hoping to hear at least some of what was being said at an event that will have a significant impact on their lives. Some stood under open umbrellas, a symbolic gesture meant to convey the message that they don’t want to be left standing out in the rain.

Foodbank Wetzler GermanyThe issue being discussed that evening in Wetzlar, a city in the western German state of Hesse, was not the future of a local company or student tuition, but the free food programs at the city’s food bank, called the Wetzlarer Tafel. The organization that runs the operation is short on funds to pay for its fleet of vehicles and volunteers. About 4,200 people, including recipients of Hartz IV welfare benefits, asylum seekers and others in need, are dependent on the charity. “We can’t make it on our own,” says director Harald Würges. “We need a solution so they won’t go hungry.”

There were a number of similarly dramatic appeals on this evening, and they made an impression on a group of local politicians sitting at a long table. In early December, the city of Wetzlar allocated a subsidy of €14,000 ($19,000) to the food bank. “It’s a good start,” says Würges, “but we’re not quite out of the woods yet.”

Würges and many other representatives of 917 other food banks and soup kitchens in Germany share the same fear over their future. Across the country, food pantry workers, most of them volunteers, are sounding the alarm that charitable donations are no longer enough to pay for storage space, delivery trucks and rents. Some are also having trouble stocking enough food to satisfy demand. In Hamburg, for example, food banks have been forced to turn some people away in recent weeks.

Greater Demand for Free Food

Pantry volunteers and employees blame the plight on the fact that increasingly more people have come to depend on free meals. They also say that people have become less inhibited when it comes to publicly admitting to poverty and having to rely on charity.

But the growing demand for food-pantry services is only part of the story. The charity movement has also made mistakes that would force a seasoned business enterprise to its knees: growing too fast and turning away from its core business.

In some places, charitable organizations have expanded their services and taken on some of the responsibilities of the social welfare state. In addition to offering free meals, some now provide training programs to help welfare recipients improve their job-seeking skills, cooking classes and childcare for single mothers.

In many instances, the food-pantry movement no longer has much in common with the laudable volunteer initiative that developed in major cities about two decades ago. At the time, a few volunteers, using their own cars, would spend hours collecting food for the needy in supermarkets and restaurants: day-old bread, bruised fruit and dairy products approaching their expiration dates. The volunteers wanted to get involved and do good deeds for the needy. The media portrayed them as charitable workers helping to feed the poor. It was a niche project.

But that was before Germany’s Hartz IV welfare reform program came into effect. Troubled by news reports on the adverse effects of the new legislation, well-meaning citizens established food pantry associations throughout Germany, even in towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants and unemployment levels below 5 percent. The food pantry movement grew into a social giant than now has some 60,000 volunteers, fleets of vehicles and about 3,000 actual food banks — a larger network of branches than the Penny discount supermarket chain.

Supply and demand continued to grow. In the last five years, the number of people who receive meals for free or in return for a small contribution has approximately doubled to about 1.5 million.

Decline in Provisions

This would hardly be a dramatic figure if the donations coming from grocers had grown at roughly the same pace. But large supermarket chains and small retail grocery stores have improved their inventory planning, removing far fewer items from the shelves and discounting items that are about to expire. The food-pantry trucks are still getting enough fruits and vegetables, says Heike Vongehr, head of the Düsseldorf food pantry, established in 1994. But, she adds, there has been a steady decline in the supply of pasta, dairy products and meat — precisely the products that are in great demand among pantry customers.

Vongehr, 70, a pioneer of the German food-pantry movement, fears that the situation will get even worse in the coming years. One reason, she explains, is that more students are using food banks in Düsseldorf and other university cities. Turning them away would be unfair. On average, university students in Germany have a monthly income of only €864, which, according to the criteria of the German Federal Statistical Office, makes them just as “vulnerable to poverty” as Hartz IV recipients and many retirees.

Another development that worries food bank volunteers is the fact that Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will enjoy freedom of movement for workers as of Jan. 1, 2014. “We are about to face new challenges,” says Vongehr. One possible solution, she explains, is to reduce portion sizes, but even that creates potential problems, with recipients already complaining about not getting enough food at many pantries. Because of rising tensions at their facilities, food pantries in Berlin have enrolled some of their workers in conflict management courses.

Competition Between Charities

Some improvement could achieve if each pantry would distribute the food they collect more effectively among themselves. In some regions, food pantries and other charitable institutions are even competing for the goodwill of grocers. The losers are forced to send their customer’s home with reduced portions, while the organizations that come out on top are able to expand their range of products and services.

One person able to provide his customers with the best is Wolfgang Nielsen. On a recent morning at 9 a.m., the chairman of the food pantry in the western city of Wuppertal provided a tour of his organization’s extensive grounds in the city’s Barmen neighborhood. The first stop was the cafeteria, which was almost as big as a gymnasium. Pop music played quietly in the background as guests at the breakfast buffet chose from among nine types of cold cuts and cheese. And thanks to “excellent” cooperation with local bakeries, Nielsen noted enthusiastically, the Wuppertal food pantry has “the best selection of bread and cake in the Bergisches Land region.”

Visitors to the food pantry are not charged for their meals, nor are they required to prove their status as Hartz IV recipients or low-wage earners. In theory, any resident of Wuppertal can come to the pantry for breakfast and stay until lunch, which is also free, as is dinner.

Nielsen, 63, and his staff distribute “about 1,000 portions” each day of the week in their cafeteria. They also run a separate “children’s pantry,” which provides after-school daycare services for Hartz IV recipients and other parents who qualify as needy. “It’s a popular service,” says Nielsen. Parents who prefer to cook for their own children are given food to take home. Crime rates have declined in Wuppertal because of the food pantry, says Nielsen. According to the police, shoplifting has also gone down since the facility began distributing free meals.

Introducing Price Tags

About 500 kilometers (310 miles) away, Jochen Brühl, 47, the new chairman of the German Federal Association of Food Pantries, is sitting in a conference room in Berlin. He is somewhat critical of the all-inclusive world of the Wuppertal pantry. Food pantries shouldn’t really be “full-service providers,” he says. As Brühl points out, “the supply situation varies widely from region to region.” In eastern Germany, in particular, pantries are having trouble serving all of their customers.

Brühl and his staff at the federal association are trying to develop a structure capable of handling future challenges. They conduct outreach activities, manage major suppliers like the Lidl and Rewe supermarket chains and provide volunteers with fundraising training. They have almost no say in the day-to-day operations of each pantry.

Brühl has had good experiences with a model used at the food pantry in his hometown of Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart. The Ludwigsburg facility, along with several others in the surrounding state of Baden-Württemberg, no longer offers food for free.

Each item has a price. A cup of yoghurt costs 5 cents, bread costs 20 cents and a portion of fruit is priced at 30 cents. Experiences with the new system have been “overwhelmingly positive,” says Brühl. One of the reasons, he adds, is that pantry visitors are now real customers.

In Munich, too, food pantries have abandoned their old principles. In the past, pantries only distributed items that food producers, supermarkets and other merchants were no longer willing to sell. To maintain standards for their roughly 18,000 weekly customers, food pantries in the Bavarian capital see themselves forced to take a path that would have been viewed as a betrayal of the movement’s fundamental principles in the past: Buying large amounts of additional food, paid for with donations.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

 

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#acefoodnews, #aceworldnews, #bergisches-land, #charitable-organization, #december, #food, #food-bank, #food-banks, #food-pantry, #germany, #hunger-relief, #philanthropy, #wetzlar, #wuppertal

#Nelson Mandela Messages of Condolence Add Yours Here #Peace

English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo date...

English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo dates from 1937. South Africa protect the copyright of photographs for 50 years from their first publication. See . Since this image would have been PD in South Africa in 1996, when the URAA took effect, this image is PD in the U.S. Image source: http://www.anc.org.za/people/mandela/index.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation

Ace News Group – Tribute – 10th December 2013

NELSON MANDELA  Just click the link and add yours to his page? RIP #NelsonMandela

Legacy Of The Man 

It was with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa and shortly after-ward further official announcements.

EXTRACT: We all now want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to the nation and to the world.

Nelson Mandela Children's Fund

Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.

Hamba Kahle Madiba

Arrangements

To support the government and the Mandela family we will endeavour where possible to assist with access to information.

Arrangements for the laying to rest of former President Nelson Mandela

Media accreditation arrangements for the State Funeral of President Nelson Mandela

Keeping the legacy alive

For a background document on the history and work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, as well as details of how to support their work, please click “Legacy of a Man” above

Nelson Mandela’s retirement video: 

 

Send a message of condolence:

Messages can be entered by submitting the form below following the directions. We undertake to collect all messages received and hand them to Madiba’s family.

Send your message of condolence

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#aceworldnews, #africa, #charitable-organization, #december-2013, #madiba, #mandela, #nelson-mandela, #nelson-mandela-foundation, #nelson-rolihlahla-mandela, #president-of-south-africa, #republic-of-south-africa, #south-africa, #state-funeral

UNICEF: Obtains First Partner in Drive for Syria’s Children

Flag of UNICEF

Flag of UNICEF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The UK government will match pound for pound all public donations to UNICEF’s Syria appeal, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today. The boost comes through the government’s Aid Match system and will double the charity’s ability to help children caught up in the crisis.

This is the first charity partnership in a major new initiative from the government that will provide critical support to charities working to reach Syrian children who are suffering as a result of the war.

The initiative is intended to recognise the level of concern from the British public about the millions of children now in desperate need of help by matching the generous public response to charity appeals.

A series of further match funding initiatives which could provide tens of millions of pounds in new support will be agreed and announced in the run up to Christmas to help the children of Syria cope with the onset of winter and the trauma of conflict.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

Syria’s people are experiencing unimaginable hardship with millions of children in particular facing a bleak and uncertain future.

The UK has already committed its largest ever humanitarian response to the crisis and we are now teaming up with UNICEF to double the power of donations from the British public.

Our partnership with UNICEF means that donations to UNICEF’s appeal for the children of Syria will be matched pound for pound by the UK government.

UNICEF UK Ambassador Jemima Khan, who will be co-hosting UNICEF’s Halloween Ball fundraiser tonight, said:

For over two years, the children of Syria have been witnessing and experiencing one horror after another. I have seen UNICEF’s work in emergencies all over the World. They work tirelessly to reach every child, but they cannot do it alone and the need has never been so urgent, particularly with winter approaching.

We hope to raise vital funds at The Halloween Ball this evening for the children of Syria and I am very grateful to the UK government who have pledged to match pound for pound everything we raise.

Over four million children’s lives have been affected by the Syria crisis with over a million of them forced to become refugees. More than a million Syrian children are unable to access basic education and more than 5,000 schools have been destroyed or damaged.

Match funding will mean UNICEF can provide potentially life-saving assistance to thousands more children both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, where they have fled the continuing fighting.

As well as clean drinking water, food, vaccinations and medical support, match funding will support UNICEF’s work to provide education and trauma counselling for children who have been exposed to the horrors of the conflict.

Today’s announcement comes ahead of UNICEF’s Halloween Ball this evening, which will welcome up to 400 guests from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and business in order to raise vitally needed funds for the children of Syria. All public donations made for UNICEF’s work in Syria at the ball and over the following three months will be matched by the government under this agreement.

The new Syria match funding initiative will support a range of work from charities operating inside Syria and across the region. This could include basic equipment for temporary schools, paying teachers, heating in the harsh winter, helping children get out of hard and exploitative work and preventing girls from being trafficked, as well as supporting programmes that aim to keep children warm and safe during winter months.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK has committed £500 million to the Syria crisis, its largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.
  2. The new Syria match funding initiative will run alongside the UK’s existing aid match programme. This matches public donations to charity appeals for organisations working around the world with funding from the international development budget. A total of £120 million will be available for UK Aid Match over the next three years.
  3. Last month Justine Greening announced that the UK will be providing desperately needed help including counselling and education to help prevent an entire lost generation of Syrian children. Establishing match funding partnerships with UNICEF and other British charities helping Syria’s children is a key part of this initiative.
  4. UNICEF is the world’s leading children’s organisation. It works with families, local communities and governments in more than 190 countries to save and change children’s lives.

For full details of the UK’s humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, please visit: Syria Crisis: Latest updates on UK aid.

 

#acenewsservices, #charitable-organization, #government-of-the-united-kingdom, #jemima-khan, #justine-greening, #secretary-of-state-for-international-development, #syria, #uk-government, #unicef, #unicef-uk

National Do-Not Call Registry

 

Logo for the United States National Do Not Cal...

Logo for the United States National Do Not Call Registry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Federal Trade Commission announced updated fees starting on October 1, 2012, for telemarketers accessing phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

 

All telemarketers calling consumers in the United States are required to download the numbers on the Do Not Call Registry to ensure they do not call those who have registered their phone numbers. The first five area codes are free, and organizations that are exempt from the Do Not Call rules, such as some charitable organizations, may get the entire list for free. Telemarketers must subscribe each year for access to the Registry numbers.

The access fees for the Registry are being increased as required by the Do-Not-Call Registry Fee Extension Act of 2007. Under the Act’s provisions, in fiscal year 2013 (from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013), telemarketers will pay $58, an increase of $2, for access to Registry phone numbers in a single area code, up to a maximum charge of $15,962 for all area codes nationwide, an increase from the previous maximum of $15,503. Telemarketers will pay $1 more per area code for numbers they subscribe to receive during the second half of the 12-month subscription period, for a total of $29 per area code.

 

 

#call-registry, #charitable-organization, #federal-trade-commission, #national-do-not-call-registry, #telemarketing, #telephone-number, #telephone-numbering-plan, #united-states