Unwanted fruits and vegetables are made into meals for thousands in Athens

Greek non-governmental organisations (NGOs) join forces and feed lunch to thousands using more than a ton of “ugly” vegetables and fruits that would have been thrown out.

ATHENS, GREECE (OCTOBER 11, 2015) (REUTERS) – More than a ton of unwanted fruits and vegetables that would have been thrown away were turned into meals on Sunday (October 11), in a joint effort by various Greek non-governmental organization (NGOs) to raise awareness about wasting food and to feed thousands of Athenians.

Scores of people turned out to receive their free meal under the global initiative dubbed “Feeding the 5000,” which also featured music and healthy cooking exhibits.

Pensioner Irini said she came to eat for free, as every penny saved helped her.

“It’s a great help, because with our pensions being cut we don’t have enough money, and the bank gives us little money (due to capital controls,)” said Irini.

The 1.5 tons of produce were donated mainly by sellers from the central Athens fruit market.

Athens mayor, George Kaminis, said he welcomed the initiative.

“There is so much food that is thrown away, while there are so many people that need it, especially these times when we have also the refugee problem here in Athens,” said Kaminis.

Greece’s economic boom of the early 2000s ended with the country sinking into recession after the global credit crunch in 2008. A subsequent debt crisis and austerity imposed by international lenders has wiped out a quarter of the economy and caused many Greeks to fall into poverty, in the deepest and most protracted peacetime recession in its history.