Switzerland pastors launch ‘Save our food’

United Methodist pastor Stefan Pfister and Mathias Marmet, pastor of a local Pentecostal congregation, turned a dream of stopping food waste into reality with the launch of “Save Our Food.”

The Pauluskirche United Methodist Church in Davos started offering free food in June 2019 and plans to expand the program in the future by installing a refrigerator next to the church building.

The two pastors said they had been talking about doing something to stop food waste for years.

In Switzerland, packed food is usually marked with two dates: “to be sold before” and “best consumed before.” The food available for the project has passed the “to be sold before” date but has not yet reached the “best consumed before” date.

Pfister explained the law means supermarkets cannot sell the food but it is still good to eat.

The two pastors talked with another group who helped them with practical ideas, then they enlisted the cooperation of two local supermarkets.

The pastors held a meeting open to people also interested in saving food from waste in early March. So far, reactions in the local press and from the Facebook page have been positive.

Pfister and Marmet plan to write a “Save our food” blog for the Davos newspaper. They also hope to organize a daily food festival using leftover food that has been prepared for events and buffets during the World Economic Forum, which takes place each January in Davos.

“I am really astonished what developed from our idea, and I am overwhelmed because of the positive response,” said Pfister. “I am pleased that the Pentecostal congregation and the United Methodist congregation not only show how people can be better stewards of the resources of creation, but that they also can offer hope to people, many of whom they don’t know.

“When I went to our church building, a lady with her daughter were waiting in our garden,” said Pfister, adding that the woman and her child were very happy to hear of the program because they have financial troubles.

Pfister said the hope in their hearts and their faith inspired the pastors “to put love into action.”

News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5469. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests. Urs Schweizer, assistant to the bishop for the Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area in Zurich, contributed this story.

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