United Way Romania with the support of Carrefour Romania, organized the first edition of the Charity Shopping Race (Cursa Cumpărăturilor Caritabile), in which 57 volunteers – employees of nine companies, journalists and bloggers – entered a competition to help 14 disadvantaged families.
Divided into teams of 4 and encouraged by colleagues, volunteers tried, in a record time, to purchase food and personal use products necessary for the families included in the project. For two hours, teams aspiring to the title of “Fastest shopping”, filled the shopping cart of a disadvantaged family, based on a preset list of needs and within the budget donated by the company they represented. Besides food, hygiene products, shopping for the 14 families included refrigerators, washing machines, bicycles and toys for children.
The first edition of the Charity Shopping Race counted nearly 60 competitors, total value of goods donated two hours of competition exceeding almost 14 000 USD.
“The Charity Shopping Race is a project in which we approach in different way our relationship with both the beneficiaries of our programs and the sponsors of projects undertaken by United Way Romania. The number of volunteers from companies and the media who entered the race is higher than we initially estimated, so we are optimistic about the next stages of the competition. In our opinion, all participants in this project are winners, no matter on what place they finished the race and the most important award the 57 volunteers receive is the joy of giving,” said Cristina Damian, United Way Romania Executive Director.
In Romania, official statistics show that 70% of the monthly budget of a middle-income households is used to provide basic necessary products. In disadvantaged environments, a family’s income is often insufficient to cover these basic expenses, especially when family members need to compensate for the lack of state social services, lack of access to health services and even to child benefits.
Through the Charity Shopping Race, United Way Romania chose to assist families in Bucharest and the surrounding areas, with reduced income, whose members face health problems or who lack basic resources but want to give their children a better future.
“Charity Shopping Race, a humanitarian action in which Carrefour believed right from the start, is a welcomed help for all families with poor income. We support any charitable gesture that can be of help for families in financial distress or actions for which we can provide products of basic necessity and bring joy in their homes. We liked this initiative the more it managed to mobilize employees from companies, Romanian journalists and bloggers for a good cause, all organized in a creative way, through a shopping race against time”, said Andreea Mihai, Marketing & Communication Director of Carrefour Romania.
Members of the competing teams are employees of companies Carrefour, Centrade-Cheil, Cetelem, DLA Piper, IBM, Raiffeisen Bank, Raiffeisen Leasing, Veranda (Central European Financial Services) and Genpact Europe.
Among those who raced in the charity shopping competition are bloggers Anca Leibovici, Oana D. Botezatu, Alexandra Druţă, Ariel Constantinof, Bianca Moruș, Andrei Vulpescu, Florin Grozea and Alina Aliman, Alistmagazine.ro editor, who shopped for two of the families benefiting from the event. Another United Way supporter who attended the event is Diana Bart, Prima TV presenter, who handed the medals and diplomas to the winners at the awards ceremony.
The winner of the first edition is team “Helpaholics”, made up of DLA Piper employees, who managed to make purchases from the list in only 31 minutes and 36 seconds. The second place was won by team “Need for Speed” from Raiffeisen Bank, while the third place was won by team “United for Good” made up of bloggers Alina Aliman, Oana Botezatu, Andrei Vulpescu and Bianca Moruș. Besides the effort of the DLA Piper of holding a fundraising campaign within their company team, we also mention the effort of the IBM Romania team members who supplemented the budget allocated by their company with over 800 USD from their own resources.
Through its programs, United Way Romania annually supports over 500 families surpass difficult situations and hope for a better life. Through the help that United Way Romania grants, parents are supported professionally – to find a job, financially – to support their family with the few resources they have, parentally – to support their children in receiving quality education, while children are integrated into day centers where they are assisted in order to continue their studies regardless of problems at home. Thus, the entire family is helped to stay together and overcome difficulties.