At this year’s Food Bank Leadership Institute, The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) presented the first-ever Global Food Bank Innovation Award to Tider, a food bank network in Turkey. The award was created to recognize and celebrate an innovative program that exceptionally increased the food bank’s ability to meet hunger needs in its community.
GFN received submissions from 15 countries. Eight finalists presented their programs to FBLI attendees, who were then asked to vote to determine the winner of the award. The finalists were:
Tider won for their sustainable approach to lifting people out of poverty. We caught up with Tider after their win to learn more about Support HR and its impact.
Support HR is an employment support program for the beneficiaries of Tider’s food bank, Support Market. Its mission is to help beneficiaries of the food bank by lifting them out of poverty in a sustainable manner. This is accomplished by finding jobs for unemployed people who are capable of working.
The program also works to raise awareness about the importance of meeting the administrative requirements for employment, such as registering in a social security system. Many individuals choose not to do this in fear that they will lose aid from state agencies. This program shows them the benefits of filing the paperwork and receiving a stable job, which will help them in the long term and relieve them from aid dependency.
We also started to organize activities for their children, and have developed training programs in collaboration with companies and organizations to help individuals get the basic skills needed to find a job.
Our program’s ultimate goal is to make sure that they, along with their families, can stand on their own feet without the assistance of a food bank.
After supporting food banks and other beneficiary institutions for four years, we realized that we needed to fight hunger and alleviate poverty in a more sustainable way. To accomplish this, we developed the Support HR program to assist people in finding jobs while providing them with basic needs through the food bank.
Support HR was designed as an enabling program, which is different from a conventional employment program. As a part of the program, we work to understand the individual’s life story, how they’ve come to take advantage of Support Market [Tider’s supermarket, where people can receive products for their basic needs] [/Tider’s], and the skills they can offer to a company. Afterwards, we work with each individual to find a suitable job. We strive to help each family differently to match their individual needs.
This program is unique in three ways. First, Support HR is the only human resource agency that runs as a non-profit and by an NGO in Turkey. Tider owns Support HR, and the program is registered to the Turkish National Employment Agency (ISKUR). Tider charges fees to hiring firms, and the revenue generated from the commission fees are used to cover operational expenses of the program. In its first year, revenue covered 35% of the program costs.
The second unique factor is currently under development. We are working to launch an e-platform that easily matches unemployed beneficiaries with companies. Job seekers will be able to identify opportunities in or around their own district. Similarly, hiring firms and organizations will be able to access profiles of candidates that come and use Support Market.
Finally, this program provides a great opportunity for companies to procure professional services while helping those in need at the same time.
At Tider, we believe integrating food banks with HR programs will be a standard in the future. Food banks develop trust within their community, and this trust is very crucial to helping their clients to lift themselves out of poverty. For us, people who come and shop at Support Market trust us. With this positive relationship, we have convinced many people to find a job and get out of social aid programs.
Like most nonprofit organizations, we face and experience many challenges. Perhaps the biggest challenge for us is helping people understand the long-term benefits of our program and how it will help them gain independence. For some, their needs have become so closely intertwined with aid programs that sometimes the possibility and benefits of stable employment aren’t realized. This is why Support HR works closely with each individual family unit, listening to them and trying to understand their particular situation. It is also why we started to work with children, to prevent them from falling into the same cycle.
The companies that we reached out to are usually hesitant to work with us initially. To overcome this, Support HR also engages in HR networks and their professional associations, participates in HR fairs and conventions, publishes articles in HR magazines and constantly works to inform the public about our program.
After operating for more than a year, Support HR has already arranged interviews with 81 companies and assisted employment of 56 food bank beneficiaries in 13 companies.
We expect that number to grow at an increasing rate, especially with the arrival of our e-platform. When used, our employment matchmaking site will grow our revenues exponentially. This will enable us to hire more HR professionals, grow our operation and ultimately help more districts around Turkey.
To look past the numbers, Support HR continues to monitor people after they are employed. This activity reveals the true impact it has on people’s lives. Individuals that were hired reported an increased feeling of security, more trust in their future, a newfound freedom after earning income, and even introductions to new social environments. Overall, they have more self confidence now that they can provide a better future for their children.
It is a great honor for Tider to become the first winner of the Global Food Bank Innovation Award. For us, the integration of the Support HR project with the food bank – Support Market – is crucial, and is true to the popular Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
We’re honored that Tider’s Support HR project attracted the majority of our peers’ votes and became the award winner. In fact, a number of GFN member food banks have already contacted us to receive further information and details!
Now that we have international recognition, Tider’s work will elevate and allow us to connect with others to make a global impact. We are more enthusiastic and determined to make a positive impact through Support HR.
Thank you, GFN, for providing us with such an important platform to exchange ideas and best practices through the Food Bank Leadership Institute. We have come a long way since our founding in 2010. Since then, we showed a persistent track record for food banking, and we have constantly developed our model to come up with innovative ways to fight hunger and poverty.