21st August 2013
Food from the Heart, the charitable project run by easyJet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his Philanthropic Foundation, has passed the 250,000 mark in offering a free lunchtime snack to the needy in Greece and Cyprus. Numbers are growing fast following the opening of two new distribution centres in the heart of crisis-hit Athens and Nicosia.
Launched back in May 2013 from a single base in Limassol, Cyprus - Food from the Heart now has nearly 2000 recipients registered to its five distribution centres (four in Cyprus - three in Limassol, one in Nicosia plus Athens).
The typical lunchtime snack consists of one or two cheese and ham sandwich per registered beneficiary. These can be collected on production of a registrant's card at lunchtime each weekday.
Over 600 beneficiaries have already registered in the hard-hit Athens district of Kerameikos (near the Acropolis). The programme begun in late June with about half of registered beneficiaries coming each weekday to collect their snacks.
The programme is operated on a strictly non-discriminatory basis and the only obligation on beneficiaries is give their name, date of birth and a telephone number or email in order to generate an entitlement card.
Sir Stelios said: "With no let up to the economic crisis in Greece and Cyprus, it is a painful moment to see the growing demand for this charity - right in the heart of Athens. As an Athenian by birth, I know my birthplace has seen happier, more affluent days.
" At the same time I am happy to do my bit to help those in need. I do not expect it to be a solution for everyone but it will be good news if one day in the not too distant future if we are no longer needed. Until then we will be there to help out - no questions asked."
Although born and educated in Athens, both Sir Stelios' parents came from Cyprus where Sir Stelios now wants to "give back" by rolling out this programme to other economically hard hit communities. His Stelios Philanthropic Foundation is looking to pay additional franchisees for the time and effort involved in setting up new sites there whilst always covering the costs involved.
Notes for editors:
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation is committed to dynamic philanthropy: making a positive, exponential difference through funding, inspiring and advising educational, entrepreneurial and environmental initiatives. Its other UK activities include the award of scholarships to 40 students attending the London School of Economics and Cass Business School.
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