The solidarity common meals center, named “Our Daily Bread”, is one of the most important services that the local Holy Diocese is carrying out, offering to the needy fellow human beings around 300 portions of food every day (with a possibility to extent to 500), with the decisive assistance of an army of caring volunteers of the rural area of Pieria.
The service implements a decisive social care action, being the only such center of the area, offering meals, especially during outbreaks of social crises, as financial crisis, migration crisis, health crisis. Low or no income citizens of the rural areas, migration flows, inmates of detention units are some of the individuals’ categories that are receiving the food portions, via a wide network of distribution, using owned transportation vehicles and an “army” of volunteers.
Presentation of the project
Project location : The Daily Solidarity common meals “Our Daily Bread” is based in the rural Pieria, at Svoronos village, in land owned by the HOLY DIOCESE OF KITROS, KATERINI AND PLATAMON. Svoronos is a village in Pieria, with 1,948 inhabitants (2011 census). The village is heterogeneous in terms of the origin of the inhabitants, as in addition to locals, there are Pontians and refugees. Several of the residents are farmers and the main crops are tobacco, strawberries, kiwis and livestock breeders.
Elements of context (need for action / problem) : The regional unit of Pieria has faced and is still facing a serious humanitarian crisis. Its victims are first of all a wide range of vulnerable social groups (unemployed, homeless, refugees, needy, etc.), who find it difficult or unable to meet their basic needs for food. The economic climate from 2010 to 2020 and the severe limitations in incomes and social benefits are also squeezing the broad middle classes that a few years ago were experiencing days of prosperity and plenty. Large sections of the population still live in conditions of a new poverty and lack of perspective.
In the context of relief for the above social groups and containment of their basic living conditions, the Daily Solidarity common meals “Our Daily Bread” offer daily to needy and destitute citizens of Pieria, approximately 300 portions of food, constituting a leading structure philanthropy and social welfare.
- Improving the quality of life of the residents by their ensuring economic, social and spatial cohesion, combating economic and social inequalities
- Enhancing the quality of life of the locals through the development of welfare infrastructure since it contributes to maintaining the social cohesion of society as a whole.
Actual or expected outputs : The project has been accomplished and is operating. The implementation of the project has created the suitable conditions for the provision of basic services to the vulnerable group of needy and elderly. In particular, it has upgraded the social services in the field of welfare for vulnerable people who are financially unable to find a solution for their self-care.
The implementation of this project contributed to the fight against social inequalities, to the relief of the weaker social groups of the local population, in order to ensure the basic conditions of comfort and well-being of the residents.
The role of LEADER in the project (funding, support, networking, etc.) : The implemented action was a funding action. It concerned the upgrading of the model structure with the supply of modern equipment. The building infstructure was created in LEADER 2007-2013 programme and the center was operating in the new renovated building with the existing old equipment. This new model structure, with the addition of new equipment, has a specific minimum capacity to provide meals (500 people per day), while at the same time it will be connected to local businesses, schools, the local community, etc. for feeding the beneficiaries. As a result, more than 500 beneficiaries are expected to be served daily, while the possibility for transportation and door-to-door distribution of meals with a special vehicle as well as volunteer vehicles is provided.
Why is this project a priority for LEADER in your strategy? The implementation of the proposed project is consistent with the objectives of the local program as it contributes to the fight against economic and social inequalities and to the relief of the socially weaker groups of the local population and to the creation of appropriate conditions for the provision of basic services and other social services for the rural population and vulnerable social groups.
How did the project address a major challenge in your strategy (e.g. demographic change, environmental issues, social issues)? The specific project addressed one of the three major challenges of our local strategy related to the internal economic and social cohesion. Moreover, it supported the following two envisaged priorities:
- to mitigate the effects of the long-term recession, due to the current economic crisis,
- in ensuring social cohesion and improving the quality of life in the intervention area
How could the project be transferred to other LAGs? With the implementation of the project and the improvement of the existing services provided, the importance of voluntary participation – offering through the broad mobilization of society (citizens and private enterprises) as a constituent element of our culture is highlighted. As such, all areas could replicate the project, to be organised either from similar church institutions or local authorities and their legal bodies. The voluntary movement is presenting an important increase all over Greece and Europe, and as a result such action could be easily transfered.