The Finnish Red Cross is developing domestic food aid activities

Six people in Red Cross volunteer vests arranging food packages.
Photo: Marjaana Malkamäki / Suomen Punainen Risti

The ‘Ruokaa ja apua kaikille’ (Food and aid for everyone) project funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) organises and develops the Red Cross food aid activities and strengthens network cooperation within food aid.

The number of people needing food aid has risen due to the COVID-19 epidemic, its long-term effects and the increasing cost of living due to the Ukraine crisis. The project aims to secure food aid and its continuation for those in need.

The diverse food aid activities are organised by volunteers at local Red Cross branches. The organisation of food aid activities involves cooperation with different operators, such as organisations, parishes and municipalities.

  • Food aid activities take place as regular and one-off events at around 100 locations across Finland.
  • Distributions mainly consist of food, that would otherwise go to waste, donated by shops and central kitchens.
  • Volunteers also arrange e.g. communal meals, soup kitchen events and participatory breakfast events by making use of food waste.

Food aid activities are open to everyone

Many Red Cross volunteer branches have a long tradition of food aid activities. Local Red Cross branches and cooperation partners have developed existing activities and established new ones during the project.

The food is not intended for any particular group of people, but given to everyone.
Miika Norro

In April 2022, our volunteers started a surplus school meal distribution in cooperation with the town of Raisio. The new food aid has reached the people of Raisio well.

“A variety of people in different situations in life have visited our food distribution. The food is not intended for any particular group of people, but given to anyone who comes to our distribution,” explains Miika Norro from the Southwest Finland district of the Red Cross.

Community and cooperation through food aid

Our food aid events aim to support participation as well as strengthen community and well-being. In connection with food aid events, we also offer health advice and meeting place activities, among others.

In Kuopio, the Finnish Red Cross Health Point offered health advice at the opening of the local food aid association Ruoka-apu ry’s new facilities in May.

“Food aid activities also involves cooperation where our local branches offer their experience to the food distributions of our cooperation partners,” explains Johanna Mustonen from the Red Cross Savo-Karelia district.

The organisation of food aid and linked activities involves close cooperation with different operators. The project aims to develop this cooperation even further.

“When food aid is organised effectively, volunteers have more time to meet people in connection with the food aid,” says Riina Tikkanen from the Red Cross Lapland District.

  • The ‘Ruokaa ja apua kaikille’ project includes the Finnish Red Cross districts of Häme, Southeast Finland, Lapland, Western Finland, Oulu, Satakunta, Savo-Karelia, Åboland and Southwest Finland, as well as the Finnish Red Cross headquarters.
  • Food aid activities and related cooperation is carried out nationally within all 12 Red Cross districts.
  • The materials and operating models created during the project are distributed to be used nationally.
  • Learn more about the project’s models and materials here.
  • Food aid events are found at Foodaid.fi.
  • The project is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Further information is available here