Cyprus Mail

Stelios Philanthropic Foundation gives out free lunches

People receiving sandwiches at the foundation in Limassol

EASYJET founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has set up the food from the heart (FFTH) programme to give a helping hand to people in need – the poor, the hungry, the elderly as well as the disabled, the unemployed and those struggling on reduced incomes.

The programme is operated on a strictly non-discriminatory basis and the only obligation of beneficiaries is to give their name, date of birth as well as a telephone number or email. (This is a requirement to eliminate fraud and ensure efficient stock ordering).

Since its launch on May 8 at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation’s Limassol headquarters, food from the heart has been offering a free lunchtime snack to people in need. Every effort will be made to source the raw materials from local food suppliers, organisers said.

A halloumi and tomato/cucumber sandwich is available to those registered with FFTH between 12 and 2pm, Monday to Friday. By registering at the Stelios Foundation, claimants receive a swipe card, which can then be presented for one snack per day.

Less than three weeks after its launch, the foundation has nearly 300 beneficiaries registered – with over 200 sandwiches handed out on Monday May 27alone. Initial observations show that not everybody will be coming every day but the ratio seems to be two recipients per three registered beneficiaries while the number of registrations is growing by about 10 to 20 per cent per working day.

The typical site needs one coordinator, hired from the local community, who prepares the snacks in the morning for handing out at lunchtime The foundation provides overall organisation and support from its existing staff in Cyprus and London.

FFTH was designed as a positive and non-discriminatory effort to assist Cypriot residents and aims to complement existing charitable programmes run by the voluntary sector and churches.

“Through the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, we already sponsor a number of initiatives to support business and the environment on the island. However, after the confiscation of bank deposits and the other measures taken two months ago, I realised that there must be more help for those facing the daily challenge of putting food on the table. With the food from the heart programme, I wanted to lend a helping hand in a positive and efficient way. Anyone can come to our office in Limassol and register to receive a snack – Monday through Friday – no questions asked,” Sir Stelios, who has pledged a 12-month commitment to the pilot programme, said.

Sir Stelios wants to roll out this programme to other communities on the island with the help of volunteer franchisees in return for compensation from the foundation to reward the time and effort involved.

“Now is a good time for Cypriots to do their best to help each other,” he concluded.

FFTH is based at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation 12-2pm, Monday – Friday. 8 Argyrou Drousioti St. Limassol; Tel: 25 365118. Those Interested in becoming FFTH franchisees, who have a suitable kitchenette in their home or office and with access to a main street can call on the above number of via [email protected]

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