According to the Swiss Federal Office for Statistics, around 8.5% of the population lived below the poverty line in Switzerland in 2020 – with this figure since increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, more than two million tons of food was wasted – with around two thirds of this still edible at the time of disposal.
Schweizer Tafel bridges the gap between excess and scarcity, helping the needy in Switzerland in a direct and practical way. The charity distributes around 18 tons a day of surplus food that´s in perfect condition to street kitchens, homeless shelters, women´s shelters, and other aid organisations.
Inspired by the City Harvest organisation in New York which distributes food to the homeless, and convinced by the Deutsche Tafeln concept, Yvonne Kurzmeyer, with the help of McKinsey Switzerland, founded Schweizer Tafel in 2001. In December of that year, the first Schweizer Tafel location was opened in Bern.
Contrary to the common perception of Switzerland as an entirely “rich” nation, there are in fact many poor people on our doorstep who urgently need help. And so Schweizer Tafel collects surplus, flawless food from wholesalers, producers, and retailers, and distributes it free of charge to social institutions that care for those affected by poverty. The foodstuffs distributed are past their sell-by date, but not their use-by date – and so can therefore be safely reused instead of being thrown away.
The organisation has six regional locations – each with their own infrastructure, and are supported by volunteers, people involved in unemployment programs, people on social security, and people undertaking community service.
The Schweizer Tafel charity distributes 4,700 tons of food worth 31 million Swiss francs a year. That equates to nine million meals a year.
With their important work financed exclusively from donations, we are very pleased to be contributing to Schweizer Tafel, to support them in their mission to distribute food and alleviate poverty in Switzerland.
For more information, and to donate time, money or goods, visit schweizertafel.ch.