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Our new Rounding Up project: Helping others to make ends meet

Published December 13th, 2022

As part of the Rounding Up feature, for the first time we, together with our Tomorrow community, are supporting an NGO that operates here and not in the Global South: the umbrella organization of German food banks, Tafel Deutschland e.V.. Find out here why this project is so important to us and how you can help those affected by poverty.

With our Rounding Up feature, since the end of 2021 you have been able to round up any payment you make with your Tomorrow card to the nearest euro – meaning that your remaining cents are donated to climate justice projects. What works out as just a few cents for each individual actually makes up a large collective sum that has a huge impact and can really bring about change. Together with you, we have already been able to fully finance the first few projects.

More and more people in Germany are living in poverty

In December we will put our Rounding Up feature to use for a special project and, for the first time, direct the donations to an NGO that operates here in Germany: the Tafel, the umbrella organization of German food banks. We are doing this to show solidarity for the situation of many people in Germany, who are finding themselves in financial hardship amid the rising costs.

This is not a dramatization when you realize that Germany is on the verge of a huge societal problem. Many people are struggling to make it to the end of the month.
Ulrich Schneider, General Manager of the German Parity Welfare Association, August 2022

In 2021, the number of people affected by poverty in Germany was around 13 million, which is around 16% of the total population. Defined as being affected by poverty are those who have less than 60% of the overall population’s average income at their disposal (source: EU definition for EU-SILC, the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions). In 2021, this threshold was €15,009 (net) per year for a person living alone in Germany and €31,520 (net) for two adults with two children under the age of 14 (source). People below the poverty line have a maximum of €6 a day to spend on food.

Pictures: Dagmar Schwelle, Nikolaus Urban

Due to the current crises – Russia’s war on Ukraine, inflation and the energy crisis – increasing numbers of people are finding that their income is not enough to finance basic needs like heating, washing and groceries.

We want to draw attention to this situation and, by joining forces with you, support the Tafel food banks in Germany.

Our new Rounding Up project: Tafel Deutschland

Tafel Deutschland e.V. represents, coordinates and supports over 960 local Tafeln* in Germany. The Tafeln rescue excess food items of a perfectly good quality and distribute them among people in need who can’t afford to provide a healthy, balanced diet for themselves. These are food items that can no longer be sold in supermarkets, such as fruit and vegetables with minor imperfections or yoghurt that is just before its use-by date. Every year, the Tafel food banks rescue around 265,000 tonnes of food and pass it on to over two million people living in poverty. Users of these food banks include, for example, people suffering from old-age poverty, single parents, low earners and families with multiple children and those who were particularly hard hit by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

As well as the influence of the current crises on the guests of the food banks, the work of the Tafel itself is also up against new challenges. The number of food bank guests has skyrocketed in many places. At the same time, however, there has also been a drop in the donations of food items and the rising petrol and running costs are adding an extra burden. In order for them to continue providing their services, the Tafel – like many other NGOs – are now particularly dependent on support.

With cash donations, we can help Tafel Deutschland and Tafeln to continue their invaluable work, also during crises. This will enable them, for example, to purchase vans to help them collect the foodstuffs and energy-efficient refrigerators in which to store the rescued food items, or to pay the rising energy costs of their storage and distribution premises.

In a few days, the project with Die Tafel will go live in the app - if you want to be a part of it, activate the Rounding Up feature in the Impact Tab in the app already today. The feature is optional, which means you can activate it any time and also deactivate it if you no longer wish to use it.

Pictures: Dagmar Schwelle, Nikolaus Urban

How you can help people affected by poverty

With our Rounding Up feature in the app, we are now giving you the opportunity to support the Tafel in Germany.

There are also many other ways to help people in need. We have put together a few ideas to get you started: 

Helping with your mindset and time

  • Try to show more compassion and empathy to people – notice how often you avoid eye contact with homeless people.

  • If you are unsure whether someone is unconscious or sleeping, speak to them or inform the local police.

  • Also very important in winter: does your city have a Kältebus? This is basically a bus that goes around German cities helping homeless people during the cold season with hot drinks, food, clothing and sleeping bags. Approach the person and ask them if you should call the Kältebus for them. You can find an overview of the local Kältebus services here: https://kaeltekarte.de/

  • Watch out for others: perhaps you could go shopping for the elderly lady who lives on the first floor of your apartment block or invite your child’s friend around for dinner now and again.

  • By getting politically involved you can give a voice to the people who don’t have a strong lobby behind them. For example, you can take part in demonstrations or join political parties or initiatives that stand up for people affected by poverty.

  • How about volunteering (for example at the Tafel, the German Red Cross or at homeless shelters)? Many initiatives and associations are dependent on voluntary helpers and urgently need your support. Our tip: you will be of more assistance if you can provide longer-term support more often.

Helping with material donations 

  • Do you have any clothes or warm blankets that you can donate to people in need? Drop them off at your local charity shop, the Deutsche Kleiderstiftung (German Clothing Foundation) or the German Red Cross. It’s best to ask first what they need in particular and make sure that you’re only donating clothing that is clean and in good condition.

  • With food or hygiene item donations (to the Tafel or

    foodsharing Germany, an online platform that saves and distributes surplus food

    ), you can pass on non-perishable food and unopened hygiene products to those in need.

Helping with donations of money or products

  • Money makes the world go round – but we can set the direction. That doesn’t just apply to banking, but also to the financial hardships of many wonderful and extremely important organizations that support those in need. If you are in a position to donate money, you can get in touch with the Tafel, the German Red Cross or other aid organizations.

  • Retailers often have ‘donation boards’. The principle here is that you don’t just pay for your own purchase, but also another item of your choice. Anyone who doesn’t have the financial means to pay themselves can simply choose something from the donation board free of charge.

  • There are some fantastic products and services offered by people in need, such as the magazines sold on the streets or guided tours of the city by homeless people.

* You can find the contact details of the local Tafel food banks near you here: https://www.tafel.de/ueber-uns/die-tafeln/tafel-suche/

As well as urgent aid for those affected by poverty and austerity, we need all-embracing, long-term solutions that start with the system. Direct support should be seen as a mere ‘stopgap’ to a more equal society. At the end of the day, the responsibility lies in the hands of the government.

To our community in Hamburg: In February, the Tomorrow team, together with FC St. Pauli, will be collecting food and goods donations for the Tafel Hamburg at the city’s Millerntor stadium. Further details to follow soon. Feel free to drop by and let your friends know! We will be grateful for any kind of support and food donations.

Find out more about our Rounding Up feature on the website and further details about the projects can be found in the Tomorrow app.

Transparency information: We invoice the associations and NGOs that we support with Rounding Up for the costs incurred on our part, for the transaction fees, for example, or the costs of communicating the feature. That is how we, as a gGmbH (a German charitable limited liability company), generate an income that will enable us to establish Rounding Up as a stand-alone impact driver in the long term. In the case of Tafel Deutschland, Tomorrow gGmbH keeps 2.5% of the amount donated.