Established in 2015, Me-säätiö is a non-profit foundation that aims to prevent the marginalisation of children and teenagers in Finland. Activities are concentrated in seven “We Houses” located in areas where there is a high risk of marginalisation. In cooperation with local partners, the houses offer support and fun activities to children, teenagers and families, and are usually visited by some 4,500 people each month. In early 2020, Me-säätiö opened a new house in Mellunmäki, Helsinki.
Although the foundation has had to close down the houses due to the epidemic, the need for support has not disappeared. Me-säätiö is looking after families in distress because of the coronavirus crisis, and has been quick to come up with new ways to support them, most tangibly by distributing gift vouchers for food.
“In this situation, with lots of people furloughed, many families find themselves struggling financially. This is why we are distributing gift vouchers for food to families in need at our We House locations,” says Outi Herkepeus, Head of Program at Me-säätiö.
Hope ry is a volunteer association that usually accepts donations of clothes and other items, but at the moment, those activities have been put on hold. In a short time, Hope ry’s volunteers kick-started food aid to families struggling financially, which had previously been done only on a much smaller scale.
“Most school children are now studying from home, and therefore do not have access to school meals. This has put a burden on families that struggle financially, as they need to spend more money on food. For many such families, a voucher or a food bag is now a big help,” says Eveliina Hostila, Executive Director for Hope ry.
According to Hope ry, a sense of community and caring has become very evident during the crisis. The association has received donations and support from both companies and private individuals. Hope ry has 20 local operators across Finland. During the epidemic, the association has been able to provide food aid to 2,000 families.
“We are happy to see companies also responding to the crisis. The need for assistance is growing – we can tackle it by working together,” says Hostila.
According to its principles of sponsorship, K Group focuses primarily on sponsoring nationwide projects in Finland that are connected to the everyday lives of children and young people, promote the quality of living and sustainability, and bring joy to as many people as possible. Some 90% of K-food stores donate edible food products they no longer can sell to local charities, which then distribute the products as food aid to those who need it.
“In this situation, we want to enable food aid to people who need it. The best way to reach those in need is to work together with local partners who know their community, which is why we have concentrated our support to Me-säätiö and Hope, both organisations that reach families in need in their own exemplary ways,” says Karoliina Partanen, Senior Vice President of Communications at Kesko.
Find out more about Me-säätiö