Blanka Turturro, head of Slow Food Prague and her husband Emilio, could not stay idle when they heard the call in the media, radio and TV of a food collection organized by the Food Bank throughout the Czech Republic. They participated in the collection as members of the Slow Food Prague community and made their contribution to the fight against Coronavirus.
The Coronavirus crisis has deprived many people of their jobs, their social status, and even divided or destroyed some families here in Czech Republic. That’s why Slow Food Prague wanted to give a little helping hand. Since its foundation, Slow Food Prague has offered its community activities to help people who are going through difficult times, as well as general solidarity initiatives. During the Covid emergency, this was especially important, because certain groups of people were even more isolated.
In that period, our Slow Food community activities had to stop, and we couldn’t meet with chidlren and school groups, due to the lockdown. So we had to find another way to make ourselves useful to our community. And that is why me and my husband joined forces with the Food Bank to help with the collection of food for those in need. Slow Food Prague already had a couple of projects with the Food Bank in Prague and we know how dedicated and diligently the bank works. We already knew about the initiative, which has actually been repeated twice a year, but this time it was related to the emergency.
The food collection was organized in one day of solidarity, during which everyone could help in the simplest way: by gifting durable food and medicines.
Volunteers for the collection came from all districts of Prague and belonged to various generations: there were university students, people who lost their jobs and wanted to be socially useful, representatives of various non-profit organizations.
The food collection was organized in all regions by Food Banks and the Czech Federation of Food Banks, in cooperation with the Confederation of Trade and Tourism and the Association of Social Responsibility, with the social partners Caritas Czech Republic, Salvation Army. Also selected stores of retail chains are involved.
Selected food and medicines travelled through regional Food Banks directly to consumer non-profit organizations that helped, for example, abandoned seniors, single mothers, families in crisis, homeless people and people with mental and physical disabilities.
We were very happy not only that we in the Slow Food Prague community were able to help, but how many good people overall helped those who are currently experiencing difficult times. At the same time, following the Slow Food philosophy, we gave information and advice on how to treat food sparingly, and what to do with surplus. As you know, careful handling of the amount of food in our refrigerator also saves the landscape and its biodiversity.
It’s really important not waste food surplus and think of others. This experience made us see life from a different perspective. We live in a predominantly consumerist society, focused on individual performance and fighting competition. Most of our lives are business. But there are times when those who least expect it hit rock bottom. And I’ve seen many people during this time find themselves in unexpected situations. Well, they received help from the very people they least expected, from those they often never noticed or always underestimated, like an elderly man in a wheelchair who volunteered his time at the Food Bank.
It was very touching; I wish all young people would live this experience and participate in helping fellow citizens who are less fortunate. It’s very simple to repeat similar initiative in future.
Food is not a discounted item and every day there are mountains of food that are wasted in supermarkets, stores or in the homes themselves. If there isn’t a Food Bank in your area, all it takes is finding a place to collect this food – maybe one day a week – and then delivering it to families in need. The Covid emergency may be fading, but not the crisis and the hardships that many are still experiencing.
Food could be of significant value, not only at nutritional level, in people’s life. This is why, around the world, not only math, physics or literature should enter the school curriculum, but also social work and value literacy, which would include teaching and practicing about the true value of food.