The campaign was held in Neterra office building starting on October 18th and continued to October 29th as part of Food Banks Forum. This is first of its kind food drive in Bulgaria, organized in a corporate environment. The purpose of the campaign was to help people in need or experiencing difficulties and at the same time to initiate social responsibility within the company. All the food collected was distributed respectively to Day Care Center for Children with Disabilities "Saint Mina"2 in District Mladost 2 and to Charity Association "We also exist".
I am glad that Neterra accepted that challenge to be a pioneer and participate in such social responsible cause. As initially organized, the campaign was challenging and seemed unfamiliar to the people not involved in the food production industry. It takes time for donations to become a common way to help people and make a change. I hope that the following campaigns will motivate Neterra further more and the people in the company will participate even more actively in the drive," said Maya Kalcheva, Food Banks Forum Coordinator. "The main aim of the food drive was to test and determine the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign and draw an outline that the future Food Bank in Sofia can follow. "
Neterra develops its own corporate social responsibility policy. Being part of this project, the company became partner and supporter of the initiative to develop Food Banks National Network. Food Banks Forum was founded on its first meeting which took place in mid-May 2010 in Neterra office building.
Last six months Neterra gave Food Banks Forum technical assistance in software development of a weekly newsletter, website design and development, professional consultations and technical support.
Food Banks Forum aims to research the needs for planning and development of national model for sustainable and effective nutritional support, called Food Banks National Networks. 40 companies, organizations and state institutions are working together in this Forum. Members are state representatives of Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Health Care, Labor and Social Policy, Sofia Municipality. There are also representatives of socially responsible businesses and of non-governmental organizations providing social services.
The forum is coordinated by CDF - Community Development Foundation with financial aid from Kraft Foods and Kargil charity organization, methodological support by Global Food Banking Network and in partnership with European Federation of Food Banks.
Food Bank (FB) is a mechanism for food collection, storage and distribution. Its mission is to consistently provide food to people in need through its long-term partnerships with local and central government representatives, businesses, civil associations and media for donating food, essential goods, money or volunteer work. In general, food bank does not distribute directly to the people, but uses the well-developed infrastructure of charity organizations which have been approved and meet the safety standards. That way the food bank would be able to keep track of all incoming and outgoing products. Food banks are established as a social aid tool in U.S. in the late 60s. Such food banks operate in more than 40 countries and serve more than 40 million people in need. This model is now used in Europe, North, Central and Latin America, Australia, Africa and Asia.
Currently in Bulgaria sporadic initiatives take place but they implement just few aspects of food banking cycle - food collection and distribution.
Food drive is a campaign for food collection from individuals in form of voluntary donation supporting a particular food aid cause. In this particular case - for needs and purposes of few organizations, which deliver food to elderly people, youths and single mothers in the region of Sofia. The food drive is organized as a pilot initiative to test the possible forms of food collection, which could be used for the sake of the Food Bank in future. The food drive analysis are necessary to develop a strategy for planning and establishing Food Bank in Sofia which will help people in need systematically and purposefully.