A different kind of Christmas tree was erected in the courtyard in front of the University of Athens this year.
Made up of various food products donated by generous Athenians, the items used to create this festive tree were handed out to those in need.
Doctors of the World, an NGO with offices in Greece, erected the tree on December 18, adorning it with tins of milk and packages of rice, beans, sugar, olive oil and other canned food products. This year marked the 10th consecutive year of the organization’s annual tradition.
The tree has a short life span. It adorns the yard of the historic building of the Athens University for just one day each year. But the tree serves a major mission to ease hunger and poverty among the city’s less fortunate.
The initiative began in 2010 after a young patient in one of the clinics run by Doctors of the World asked whether Santa Claus brings milk as a “present.”
The first year that it set up the “milk tree,” Doctors of the World counted 5,000 cans.
In coming years, as more and more people heard about the initiative, the organization collected an average of more than 55,000 cans of milk and more than four tons of other food products.
With the support of thousands of citizens who stopped by the university’s yard to donate food products and build the festive tree, Doctors of the World’s goal was to ensure that everyone could enjoy a basic meal during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
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