Estonia has so far welcomed over 34,000 Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war and need support. The Estonian food bank collects and distributes food to families in need, and Nordea employees have been using their volunteering hours to help.
At Toidupank, any help is worth its weight in gold. Toidupank collects donations and hands out around 400 food packages every day to Estonia’s Ukrainian refugees. Many of the latter are not yet employed and rely on charity and governmental support.
Liina Sinijärv Nurhan „When I arrived at the Toidupank to volunteer, I did see a long line of people waiting for their food package… the line was even longer when I left. That definitely was a wake-up call for me to realize how many people are struggling around us,“ recounts Liina Sinijärv Nurhan from Nordea Branch Estonia. Liina Sinijärv Nurhan is one of the Nordea Estonia employees who, in recent weeks, have spent five hours a day helping Toidupank pack a large supply of EU food aid. “My heart goes out to everyone in need – I’m glad we had the chance to help some of them,” she says.
The volunteering has also proved to be a valuable team building exercise, helping to create shared memories and teach skills such as problem solving. „I enjoyed the sense of achievement,“ says Eha Rudi, who spent a day volunteering with KYC Services LC&I Finland 2 team. „Together, we assembled over 540 goodie bags, each containing 18 items, such as sunflower oil, canned foods, oatmeal, cocoa, coffee, honey, nuts and seeds.“
Helen Aavel from Talent Acquisition FI & EE also appreciated her time spent at Toidupank: ’’I am so happy that Nordea has provided the opportunity to do 16 hours of volunteering work. I can’t think of a better way to feel a sense of unity than do something together for a good cause, helping our local communities.“
„During my day of volunteering, I was lucky enough to meet one lady who volunteers at Toidupank on a regular basis, and I was amazed by her generosity and positive spirit. She injected all of us with a strong sense of mission and a true belief that we are contributing to something needed and important,” she adds.
As for Toidupank, they were very happy to welcome volunteers from Nordea and are looking forward to meeting more of us again in the future. „Thank you to each and every volunteer for giving us a helping hand, it was very important to us,“ says Toidupank’s coordinator Agnes Ojakivi. „With the help from European Union funds, four times a year, we are able to buy and distribute food that supports those in need. „This time, thanks to all volunteers, we have made our largest contribution yet, preparing 8,200 packages. Usually this number is around 3,000.“