The Red Cross’s box collectors

What is Hunger Day?

Photo: Suvi-Tuuli Kankaanpään / Punainen Risti

Hunger Day is a national Finnish Red Cross collection organised in September each year with the help of volunteers on the streets, at schools and at various events around Finland. The box collection will hit the streets on 26–28 September 2024.

During Hunger Day, the Red Cross collects as many donations as possible so that it could take care of as many people encountering crises as possible, around the world or here in Finland. 

The total result of the Hunger Day collection 2023 reached 2.6 million euros

“We would like to thank all the volunteers and donors who participated in the Hunger Day collection. With their help, we were able to raise 2,600,000 euros to help people in need,” says Sirpa Solehmainen, Director of Fundraising for the Finnish Red Cross.

With the support of the disaster fund, we help in crises and disruption situations and maintain emergency preparedness

The need for help can be caused by a sudden natural disaster, an accident, a conflict or an epidemic. Whatever the disaster, the basic needs of people in distress are the same: the first needs are water, food and shelter. Often health care and emotional support are also needed.

Information about the Hunger Day collection

Hunger Day is a Finnish Red Cross collection organised in September each year. Hunger Day was born when the volunteer Mailis Korhonen from Pälkäne had an idea for the “fundraising campaign for everyone in Pälkäne.”

In November 1980, Pälkäne was abuzz with activity. The Pälkäne branch of the Finnish Red Cross had challenged the entire town to save on their food costs for a day and donate the saved funds for those suffering from hunger in Africa. There were many ways to donate, including a box collection, soup kitchen and church concert.

The collection was started under exceptional circumstances, as a newspaper strike made it difficult to inform people of the collection. However, over a thousand homes heard of the collection via schoolchildren, and the campaign exceeded all expectations.

Just a year later, the campaign expanded throughout the country and received the name Hunger Day. Currently, it is organised in almost every town in Finland.

The Hunger Day collection in Pälkäne 26 November 1981 Photo: Suomen Punaisen Ristin kuva-arkisto

Hunger Day has collected close to EUR 100 million. Numerous people have received help around the world and in Finland.

The first Hunger Day collection was organised to help the victims of famine in East Africa, hence the name Hunger Day. Back then, people were encouraged to eat lightly on Hunger Day and donate the saved funds to the collection. ​

​Today, you can spend Hunger Day as you wish – not even feasting is forbidden. The idea of Hunger Day is that everyone should have enough food and those in need should receive aid.

Hunger Day is about collecting money for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The donations are not committed in advance to any specific target. Therefore, the funds can be spent quickly where the need for aid is the greatest.

Help is repeatedly needed e.g. in natural disasters: typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, rainstorms, floods, drought and landslides are common and cause human suffering.

After a natural disaster, the Red Cross distributes water canisters, hot food, tarpaulins and hygiene packages to families and provides first aid and psychosocial support as needed. The Red Cross anticipates and prepares for catastrophes and assists communities in rebuilding. 

In Finland, Hunger Day donations support the training of volunteers and maintain preparedness for responding effectively to various crises. Sudden accidents and disturbances include disasters such as fires, floods and major accidents. Volunteers often play an important role in engaging with people in a comprehensive manner in their time of need.  

Here are some examples of what money can buy.

In Finland:

  • €50: training in psychosocial support for a volunteer
  • €180: clothes for a person who has lost their home in a fire

A preparedness unit on a trailer: When helping in emergencies, the volunteers bring a mobile preparedness unit with them. These units are located all around Finland, and donations to the Disaster Relief Fund are used to equip them:

  • €5: a blanket
  • €13: a metal petrol canister
  • €87: a carrier gurney for the injured
  • €149: a cordless drill

Around the world:

  • €9: a food package for a family for a week in a disaster area
  • €17: a maternity package in the middle of a disaster
  • €60: antibiotics for thirty children

Field hospitals can be sent to a disaster area anywhere in the world. The hospital supplies are acquired through donations:

  • €4.4: an iron supplement for after giving birth
  • €100: a suture kit
  • €620: an otoscope kit with one year’s worth of supplies
  • €4,100: a patient monitor with additional supplies for an operating room
  • €29,000: an operating table with additional equipment

The easiest way is to donate online

Payment methods: Finnish online banks, Visa and Master credit cards, MobilePay, Pivo and Siirto.

MobilePay donation

Use MobilePay to transfer the desired sum to the number 10900

SMS donation

Donate €20 – Text the word SPR20 to the number 16499

Donate €15 – Text the word SPR to the number 16499

Donate €10 – Text the word SPR10 to the number 16499

Donate €5 – Text the word SPR5 to the number 16499

Call the donation phone number

The donation is charged to your Finnish telephone bill, and the operator transfers the donation to the Red Cross.

Donate €20 to the Disaster Relief Fund – Call +358 (0)600 12220 (€20.28 + local network charge).

Account information for a Hunger Day donation

Account: OP FI52 5000 0120 4156 73. Recipient: Finnish Red Cross. Reference number: 5173.

Hunger Day company donation

Make a company donation online. You can order an invoice or make a payment. Please note that by donating €400 or more, your company receives a link to special Hunger Day communications materials.

The Hunger Day box collection takes place between 26 and 28 September 2024. You will need to bring a photo ID and weather-appropriate clothing.

Local Red Cross volunteers organize box collection in almost all over the Finland. Please find more detailed information in the event calendar.

Find your nearest box collection point

How to set up your own online fundraiser

  • Set up your own online collection
  • Choose your donation target.
  • Decide whether you want to set up your personal fundraiser or Team fundraiser under which people can join to collect a shared sum.
  • Give a name and target sum for your fundraiser.
  • Explain why you set up the fundraiser and ask people to donate.
  • When you are ready, publish your fundraiser.
  • Share the collection link in social media, via WhatsApp or by email. Posting the fundraiser once may not reach everyone, and you should share it repeatedly.
  • You can monitor the donations on your fundraising page.

The collection expenses of the Disaster Relief Fund must not exceed 20 per cent. This means that at least 80% of the donations are used for aid work.

The amount of collection expenses is monitored by the board and council of the Finnish Red Cross. Collection expenses are expenses caused from acquiring the donations, such as the printing and mailing costs of donation request letters, acquisition costs of the collection equipment, marketing costs, and fees collected by external service providers, including operators and banks.

The rules of the Disaster Relief Fund and its monitoring regulate the use of the donated funds.

Yes. For example, people who have lost their homes in fires need help with necessary purchases, starting with a toothbrush. The Red Cross also provides psychosocial support for accident victims and their families.

The coronavirus crisis has emphasised the importance of being prepared. The Hunger Day donations allow us to maintain our preparedness for operating under exceptional circumstances.

The Disaster Relief Fund is also used to support the preparedness of the Voluntary Rescue Service. These volunteers support the authorities e.g. in finding missing persons and during major accidents.

Read more about the uses of Hunger Day donations in Finland

Ask about the Hunger Day collection

In 1980,
the first Hunger Day collection was held.

Hunger Day for schools and companies

Hunger Day offers pupils an excellent opportunity to influence matters through their own actions both in Finland and abroad. Involve the pupils and invite the staff, parents and relatives along to help.

Tips for Hunger Day in schools (in finnish)

Companies taking part in Hunger Day are part of a unique chain of aid. Invite staff, stakeholders and customers along to help. 

This is how companies can participate in Hunger Day

Join us as a Hunger Day box collector
Join us as a Hunger Day box collector
This is how a Hunger Day donation helps
This is how a Hunger Day donation helps