Western Romania: Social store for Ukrainian refugees opens in Timisoara
A social store offering free food and other goods to war refugees from Ukraine opened on July 6 in Timisoara, a major city in western Romania. Individuals and companies have donated the products found in the new store.
The INTERSECT Association launched the social store, in partnership with the Social Assistance Department of Timisoara City Hall, with financial support from the Timisoara Community Foundation, through OFXAM. It is part of a more extensive series of projects aimed at helping Ukrainians in Timisoara to integrate into the community.
"The opening of this store is a first step that the INTERSECT Association, together with its partners, is taking to reduce food waste and facilitate access to food for people in difficulty. We want our Ukrainian neighbours who were forced to leave their country due to the war to know that they have at their disposal, in the social store, the food and other products they need," said Mihaela Vetan, president of INTERSECT.
The social store in Timisoara is open Monday to Thursday between 12:00 and 20:00. The products are offered free of charge to those who need them, based on a certificate issued by the Social Assistance Department of Timisoara City Hall.
Angela Ciupa Rad from the Social Assistance Department explained: "Most of the Ukrainians arriving in the city first go to the Timisoara Support Center for Ukraine, organized at the initiative of the Timisoara City Hall and coordinated by us, to be registered and guided to the homes provided by the authorities, individuals and companies. The registration procedure is simple and only takes a few minutes, and then the beneficiaries receive a certificate they can use to benefit from community services."
Those who want to donate goods are asked to follow the announcements made by the INTERSECT Association to make sure their donations are really needed because the space does not allow excessive storage of objects.
Similar social stores are to be opened for other vulnerable categories as well.
The Timisoara for Ukraine project was launched after the war started, at the initiative of mayor Dominic Fritz and the City Hall. About 30 institutions, non-governmental organizations and companies in the city have joined the initiative so far.
INTERSECT Association is a social enterprise founded in March 2021 in Timisoara. The organization aims to help reduce food waste and develop community mechanisms to build social solidarity. It is involved in educational programs, awareness campaigns and social programs designed to support disadvantaged people.
(Photo source: the association)