United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

The Food box during the cold winter

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    A food delivery system was implemented for the isolated homeless in the city. It was very creative as it consisted of niche marketing for people who are invisible in the street, except when the air temperature drop under 10° celsius and up to 0°celsius or minus. So, during Dec.9, 2020, and the end of 2020, the temperature went up to 0°celsius and there was an urgent need to provide food for starving people.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    Success, while there were competitors or organizations that were interested in people in precarity. A monitoring system was put in place by the municipality with CCTV cameras in the district, where the food box and food delivery were acted at the end of the logistic of operations. The resources used were very small and based on low-cost foods but with high calory values (chocolate, butter, chips, cola, ravioli, fourrés with vanilla or chocolate...) either in kind or in numeracy for very small lump sums. The electrical bike was free and allocated by the city service (Uber, Lime, Tier...) based on the electrical mobility from the French, German, and the USA multinationals. So, each time we saw people asking for assistance when looking at these empty places, we filled them with foods and beverages. So, at night when the city is sleepy, they could help themselves Personal - Armenia homeless, on Twitter. I was Tweeting with Armenia, where a friend expressed his concern about Armenia's homeless situation. So, we wanted to demonstrate that actions pay more than inaction. - A local nurse, for specific activities, to provide basic tins of food (chili con carne, chocolate, energetic and healthy milk...) - The food delivery man (physically fit and able to work in low temperatures), who knows where to find the isolated homeless (in tents, isolated streets not visited by the social services, beggars running out of money or foods...migrants) - A foreman (the man of the city street), who was a man who knew perfectly the city collecting point, where and when the homeless are looking for food during the day and night. It was to complete and deter them to look for food in the trash of the city, or when they cannot go out because of the cold weather. They were happy to see us, with a portion of food and a drink to keep them healthy and warm, so they can sleep at night. Technology: - A motorbike (for the nurse touring in the building as a visitor to ill patients, after the visit she received small gifts that were put in the food box - An electrical bicycle, for the food delivery from the supermarket to the boxes (or given in a bag or hand to hand, when the physical contacts were possible with the homeless persons.


    At the end of the cold weather (lesser than 8°C up to minus 2° C), we still saw the people in precarious life that were asking us if we have more food to donate or a bottle of cola. We say no because now the weather was much better and we did not want this climatic and urgent situation to become permanent. Our vision of assistance to vulnerable persons was representing a new situation, linked to a different matter in relation to people empowerment: employment, training, policies, health, mobility, and cultures. So, we were finding a way to keep our promise for the next period of cold weather. The food box was a prototype of what could be made and what must be made in specific contexts, what is calling for urgent action now. Also, it was important to see about the stability of the operations for equipping the food box, and how the ordinary social and civil or homeless organizations can replace us in these places and with low temperatures that can disable NGO activities, due to the need for more resources when there is higher disorganization of the city social service for precarity. So, the critical system of the food box could not be matched by the firefighters, civilian protection, NGOs that we're responding with more resources but in a different time, when they have the knowledge of the people vulnerability.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Creative economy and behavioral change to an intent that can create an idea to help others in an unexpected situation of people being isolated for various reasons (time, temperature, precarious life...). The activity of the food box could be implemented in some places (city, nature...), with specific resources ($2, 2000 kcal per day for an individual), so in a free or low-cost economy, which is different from the market economy for paying sophisticated food, with poor energy calories per day. The activity should be limited in time when people are stressed and in a critical condition by hunger, before the arrival of the city police, social RATP, civil protection, fire brigade, or the NGO for the homeless. So, it should be used for the peak of cold temperature, as long as it can last, at a specific time of daylight, so food can be collected, bought, and placed in tactical locations (food boxes) where you can find these homeless persons living in harsh conditions. One has to love to work in extremes. Then, after much time can be dedicated to reporting and management (planning, risks, research of the marketing niches, networking, business intelligence, competitors-cooperations) to find the supports, so it can become a real solidarity action.

    Sustainability and replicability

    100%, speed, and temperature control with a small budget of 2$ per day and per person for the 2000kcal per day. The future development can lead to sophisticated food menus for the same criteria ($2, 2000kcal), sustainable production and consumption (SDG12)

    Other sources of information

    No. Maybe, one can find collections on vending machines, Homeless NGOs, donate foods...Missionaries of charities. In principle not of them go and see the homeless. These organizations are asking the homeless to come and see them to collect a food bag or to dine in. People can travel a long distance from home to the place where they are receiving a food bag. They are similar to Uber, and the food delivery at your doorstep, with a scooter on order and paying the food bill and the delivery man. The food box is also, comparable to boxes in Thailand, where the families are rewarding the buddha for their wealthy lives by placing fruits, foods..in a little house in front of the house. Also, in India, in cities where they are protecting animals. Monkeys can be picked the food freely without being prevented to make so, in a special location. Today, there are still people living on foodwaste.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Same as for all, precautionary principle, however living outdoor keep people much healthier from covid 19, than if you stay at home or if you are put in a shelter, it has to be on individual rooms, which is a higher cost for the welfare system than a tent and $2 per day for low-cost food that can bring 2300kcal per individual. Precarity can be a way to manage the vulnerability in the city or remote places while waiting for better economic, social, and ecological conditions.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    10 December 2020 (start date)
    09 January 2021 (date of completion)
    Business Innovation Research Dev (BIRD)
    Other beneficiaries

    Some categories of homeless persons (people who fear the cold, Roma, paperless person, people without money or not having enough food stock, people sleeping rough at night... - the bike man - the nurse - the city monitoring teams - city social services - Armenia tweeter friends

    Contact Information