Münchner Tafel is a local food bank and well established charitable organization in Munich, independent of the national German food bank. Münchener Tafel translates to “Muniquoise Table” and is helping people in need, people affected by old-age poverty, single parents with many children, drug addicts, bringing food of impeccable quality to women’s- and emergency shelters, facilities for mentally ill people, therapeutic co-habitation groups and many more.
Last weekend was the first time I helped out collecting non-perishables for the food bank. The setting was pretty simple- a billboard and three people of different ages standing at the entrance of an Edeka supermarket close to Stiglmeierplatz, trying to inspire folks in Munich, running their errands on a sunny Saturday morning, to buy one non-perishable good like rice, pasta, flour, cooking oil or canned food and donate it to us. We would collect everything in green boxes and in the evening it would be transported to the food bank’s headquarters from where it would start the journey to the 27 distribution points spread across Munich. In the three hours I was there, we filled 16 boxes with donated food. The day before another group of volunteers collected 36 boxes in nine hours.
I revealed the outcome but bear with me for a little while as I was amazed of the warmth in people and totally overwhelmed by the positive responses and the generous food donations.
I am not very good in asking for help, I grew up fighting for many things in my life and asking for free stuff doesn’t come easy for me. But I tried my best as this was not for me but for a bit more well-being of others.
It turned out easy also because the organization is already very well known for its work, so people immediately recognized the “brand” and were happy to donate – not only one good, one KG of flour or rice but two and five and more.
I was surprised that people of all ages donate mainly what they eat themselves, reflecting their habits and personality, like organic Müsli or gluten free pasta. One guy asked us what he can donate healthy, he looked very sporty, so my protein bell rang promptly and I suggested Tuna. He came back with five Saupiquet tuna cans, which are not really the cheapest ones. The majority of donors did not even look at the price – no intentional marketing here but people bought what they personally like and think it’s qualitative food, what they would eat themselves. This is what I found amazing!
There were some who gave a lot of thought to it and came back with an entire meal (e.g. pasta and the sauce) or stuff for breakfast or the afternoon tea like one of those packaged marble cakes and Earl Grey tea. And you could see so much joy lightening up their faces when we acknowledged it. Families were sending their kids with the food to us, some were not at an age to fully understand the difference their parents donation would make.
And what stroke me the most were those people who at first glance seemed lost in their own cozy realities, maybe a bit arrogant, making you think they just politely listen to you but they just did not know how to handle the situation momentarily. At the end of their shopping spree, they were the ones coming back to us with donations in form of multiple packs of expensive pasta or organic food.
It’s delightful, darling to see how genuinely generous and helpful people are, if you ask!
Collected facts on the organization you can find below.
These type of events take place regularly, maybe soon in your neighbourhood. If you feel inspired by the generosity of your fellow townsmen today, click here to find out how you can contribute!
Facts for Münchener Tafel e.V.
- Established 1994 as one of the first food banks in Germany with the goal to bring food of good marketable quality to those in need. The motto is distributing food rather then destroying.
- Delivers healthy food donations weekly to over 100 social facilities in Munich: women’s shelters, mother- and child shelters, emergency shelters, facilities for people suffering from AIDS, drug addicts, mentally ill people, therapeutic housing groups, road women, therapeutic co-habitation groups and four schools supporting socially disadvantaged children.
- Cares for approx. 20K people in need per week: people affected by old-age poverty, hidden poor, uprooted people, refugees, people after severe blows of fate, is single parents with many children, large families, unemployed, sick, pensioners, asylum seekers, alcoholics and drug addicts.
- 27 distribution points in the city of food to the needy
- approx. 120 tones of food is collected and distributed per week; these are of impeccable quality but are no longer used in the economic process (e.g. from overproduction or with damaged outer packaging etc.)
- 17 refrigerated vans and many private cars
- over 650 volunteers
- over 170 company sponsors – you can check out the current list here.