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This unemployed Greek man’s bid to feed the poor has evolved into a thriving community movement

2 min read

Good Stuff
This unemployed Greek man’s bid to feed the poor has evolved into a thriving community movement
Source: TheAutomaticEarth.com

Konstantinos ‘Kostas’ Polychronopoulos founded “Social Kitchen – the Other Human”, with the aim of providing free food for anyone in need.

One man had enough of seeing people go hungry

Unemployed marketing and communications specialist, Konstantinos ‘Kostas’ Polychronopoulos, is the founder of O Allos Anthropos, or The Other Human, a Greek aid group that feeds the homeless, unemployed and anybody who finds themselves hungry in Greece — including refugees and migrants.

Kostas feeds people for free every day In December 2011, Polychronopoulos was shocked by an incident at a local market when two hungry children started fighting over discarded, spoiled food, and the apathetic attitude of passers-by. Source: Facebook/ActionProductionsLondon

Of all European sovereign states, Greece is the one that can least afford to be anyone’s saviour

In 2009, when the financial crisis hit Greece, Kostas Polychronopoulos lost his job in marketing and communications. Two years later, aged 47, he was broke and living back at home with his mother. One day, while walking around the market Athens, he saw two hungry children fighting over spoiled fruit from a garbage can.

“The worst thing was that people were passing, and they didn’t care,” he says. “They just looked at them and passed by. I thought that that this was not acceptable, and horrible, and that people should care. So I decided to do something about it.”

The next day, Polychronopoulos went out into the streets of Athens and began cooking enormous communal meals for anyone who was hungry—Greeks, refugees, whoever, and he’s been doing it ever since. 

Then in August of 2015, Polychronopoulos and other volunteers traveled to the island of Lesbos, where they spent the traditional European vacation month standing for hours in the relentless summer sun, with no shade, stirring giant steaming vats of food with thousands of people who were desperate, fearful, angry, bewildered, helpless, perhaps relieved at having survived the journey, and sometimes all of the above.

Of all the European sovereign states, Greece is the one that can least afford to be anyone’s saviour. It is the continent’s most finacially beleaguered country: under constant threat of expulsion from the European Union, it is massivey in debt to European banks. 

In 2010, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund—all forced the Greek government to adopt extreme austerity measures, and Greek society has been in a state of acute financial hardship ever since.

Source: Politico

Konstantinos 'Kostas' Polychronopoulos, founder of Social Kitchen — The Other Human, delivered 500 food rations to the temporary refugee camp at Pedion tou Areos.
Delivering rations to a temporary camp Konstantinos ‘Kostas’ Polychronopoulos, founder of Social Kitchen — The Other Human, delivered 500 food rations to the temporary refugee camp at Pedion tou Areos. Source: AlJazeera/DimitrisSideridis

He borrowed cooking equipment, pots and pans, and cooked without a penny to his name

It was not Polychronopoulos’ intention to start a charity. He simply wanted to provide dignity and offer a meal to the hungry from one human being to another.

He borrowed cooking equipment, pots and pans, and cooked for the first time on Kallidromiou Street in downtown Athens, without a penny to his name. 

Kostas went around the local area and asked for a potato here, a courgette there. Puzzled, the merchants would ask him, "Are you going to cook one potato?"

"One from you, one from another, I will gather them, cook them and we eat all together," was Polychronopoulos’ reply. "Here, take 50 potatoes," would be the response.

Slowly, people started bringing supplies, and soon there were volunteers that offered help. The movement evolved, acquiring partnership with food suppliers, a vehicle and a storage building for the food. And, since January 2014 there have been clothing donations and a shelter for people who are in need of a bath and sleep for a night. 

Source: AlJazeera

Make an Impact

Here are the best ways to help people suffering in Greece

After years of austerity measures following the global recession in 2008, Greece remains in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. The country's most vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, elderly, children and refugees, continue to face countless hardships — and they could use the world's help.