The fourth annual nation-wide ‘Red Cents’ campaign once again saw a huge wave of generosity on the part of BNP Paribas Fortis customers, schools taking part in the campaign, and Bank staff. This latest charity initiative resulted in four million coins being collected throughout the country, to a total value of EUR 107,000. This donation enables Belgium’s Food Banks to provide over 35,650 hot meals to the neediest people.
In Belgium,barely 5% of the 1, 2 and 5 eurocent coins in circulation are ever spent. Most of the time they nestle in the corners of pockets, or lie forgotten in pots and drawers. A new law passed last October now authorises retailers to round cash payments up or down to the nearest five eurocents, which means that people are even less likely to bother carrying the little red cents around in their wallets. However, the Red Cents initiative initiated four years ago by BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation provides an excellent way of making good use of these unloved coins.
The latest Red Cents drive, which took place from 1 December 2014 to 16 January 2015 at BNP Paribas Fortis and Fintro branches, plus around thirty primary and secondary schools, attracted many supporters. Thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of the schoolchildren and the Bank’s customers and staff, the coffers of the Food Banks received some four million coins, filling close to 2,000 coin bags and weighing twelve tons.
When all the eurocent coins donated had been weighed, sorted and added up, the collection had passed the EUR 100,000 milestone, ending up at EUR 107,000.
On average a hot meal costs EUR 3, so this year’s coin donations will enable the Belgian Food Banks to hand out over 35,650 hot meals. Over the four campaigns, the Red Cents initiative has to date helped to provide a total of 119,500 meals.
BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation would particularly like to thank the primary and secondary schools that took part in the operation. Their action led to the collection of close to EUR 8,000.
As last year, BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation made a supplementary financial contribution to the Food Banks over and above the sum collected. For every Facebook ‘share’ or re-tweet on Twitter, and for every check-in by a visitor at one of the BNP Paribas Fortis and Fintro branches registered on the foursquare® network, the Foundation donated the equivalent of an extra meal, up to a maximum of 5,000 meals, i.e. EUR 15,000 in total. The ‘social’ engagement with the campaign easily passed this milestone, with some 4,444 shares, 793 retweets and 3,379 check-ins recorded.
Commenting on the campaign results, the Chief Executive of the Belgian Federation of Food Banks, Alfons De Vadder, underlined that the support provided by BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation encourages the general public to show greater civic involvement: “At a time when the number of people in need is constantly rising and the Food Banks are having to make major efforts to provide sufficient food aid, it is comforting to see just how many people took part in this Red Cents initiative. The 35,650 meals that we’ll be handing out will be greatly appreciated.”
It is a fact that the number of needy people calling on the Belgian Food Banks is increasing year by year. In this situation, BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation and the Food Banks have already committed to, and are gearing up for, a new campaign during the winter of 2015-16.