A good practice based on a good example of Budapest Bike Mafia. It was established in Pécs, Hungary in 2015 it is run exclusively by volunteers. The main activity is collecting food donations, community cooking and delivery of cooked meals to people in need once a month. They supply non-perishable food such as canned goods, pasta, rice and fruit to the most deprived. All food is delivered by volunteers on bicycles.
About Pécs Bike Maffia
The practice started in 2015, based on a good example of Budapest Bike Maffia, addressing the problem and needs of families in poverty in Pécs. The informal group of volunteers collects financial and material donations from individuals and companies, and once a week cook a warm meal and deliver it to families by bicycle. 30 volunteers work on this project every month, in order to bring warm and nutritious food to the table of 40 families. The volunteers are from different age groups and social backgrounds, but they work as a team to build a community and promote social responsibility.
Duration of the good practice
2015 – ongoing
The main institution in charge of the Good practice
Informal group, located in Civil Közösségek Háza
The geographical scope of the Good practice
Location of the Good practice
Pécs, Southern Transdanubia, Hungary
The main resources are volunteer work, one-off or regular individual donations, company donations, (money and ingredients), collecting donations by foreign university students in Pécs, European and national funds, and the Pro Communitate prize from the City of Pécs.
The cost of 1 cooking event is approx. 130-150 EUR.
Evidence of success
During this volunteer work, a relationship of trust is established between the volunteers and those who are in need. Help, in this case, means not only material help, but also emotional, mental or practical assistance. Families in need are more confident to ask for help in other matters too, and it is often the case that the previously deprived become helpers and volunteers.
There is a core of 5-10 volunteers, with fluctuation this number goes up to 30. They cook and deliver food for 150 people every month. More and more volunteers and donating companies join this good deed.
Challenges that have been encountered during the implementation of this program are keeping regular donors, finding new ones, keeping political neutrality, fighting the social stigma of poverty, dealing with social tensions, and avoiding the burning out and exhaustion of volunteers (hence only one cooking event per month).
To avoid difficulties we try to develop good cooperation with other NGOs, learn about ourselves, hidden skills come to the fore, creativity, problem-solving, communication, ethical issues, build our own community and strengthen our network.
Potential for learning of transfer
Pécs Bike Maffia is already based on an existing good practice: Budapest Bike Mafia. The main difference is that BBM cooks for homeless people, and PBM cooks for all the families in need in Pécs, This practice can be easily transferred to any city or bigger towns with a responsible bicycle community. It can also be adapted and adjusted to the local need – it could provide home care services, shopping or medicine delivery, social services etc. The most important aspects to be transferred are social inclusion, care and self-organisation.
It is also a green, easy-to-follow and low budget approach.
How to start?
Since the majority of work is based on volunteering, the funds are only needed to buy food and food distribution-related supplies. We acquire most of our funds from donations and from national and EU funds.
For better implementation of the program and to avoid burnout of volunteers we connect with other local NGOs, always search for new volunteers and establish a partnership with the local municipality which provides financial support to the program.
No special volunteer training is needed. To build and strengthen our community we organise team building events.