Galp volunteers bring a little Christmas cheer to families supported by the Food Bank

In the week in which International Volunteer Day was celebrated, three Galp directors and around 50 employees spent two days of their time and energy helping prepare the Christmas baskets to be handed out to the families most in need in the regions in which the energy corporation is active

The Food Bank (Banco Alimentar) warehouse in Alcântara is the scene of frantic activity every single day. Dozens of vans from charitable institutions arrive over the course of the day to deliver a little comfort food to those that need it most. However, as the president of Portuguese Federation of Food Banks, Isabel Jonet, says, none of this would be possible without the support of the volunteers involved in the implementation of this project 365 days a year, whose help benefits around 4% of the country´s population. Moreover, she highlights examples of dedication such as that of 87-year-old Ernesto, the oldest and most assiduous volunteer, who hasn´t missed a day´s work at the Alcântara warehouse for 28 years.

It is also common to find volunteers from various Portuguese companies there, such as Galp, which dedicates around 10% of its volunteer initiatives to the Food Bank. Last week, around 50 employees spent two days preparing the Christmas baskets the energy corporation will be sending to the most disadvantaged communities in the regions in which it is active, such as Sines and Matosinhos, through the Food Bank. “Galp has a long history of involvement and commitment with communities and social organisations, and of being there whenever society needs us. And in light of the events of the last few years, we are aware that a lot of families are struggling and we want to help alleviate their suffering”, said Andy Brown. The CEO is of the opinion that this type of initiative is of paramount importance to the promotion of the values of mutual assistance and team spirit, as “it´s extremely gratifying to work together with the common goal of helping others. It's good to see that everyone has rolled up their sleeves and are having fun while helping the community”.

The CEO was one of the members of the board of directors that participated in this initiative, but not the only one. Thore Kristiansen has been involved in these initiatives on a regular basis, and since arriving at Galp in 2014 he has participated in several volunteer actions he regards as “very important due to the fact they enhance the well-being of people in need of such comfort”. The Chief Operating Officer Production & Operations recalls the first initiative he took part in, which included painting a school in a deprived area. “The children were so happy and it cost us so little”. Thore Kristiansen underlines the importance and impact of this Christmas-time initiative in bringing a little joy to the 4% of the population that can´t manage to put regular meals on their table. “It´s an admirable way of giving something back to society”, he stresses.

“It's moments like this that make you reflect and put life in perspective”, adds Georgios Papadimitriou, who is participating with the Galp team for the first time. “We need to take care of ourselves, but we also need to give something back to the community whenever we have the chance”, he argues. In the opinion of the Chief Operating Officer Renewables & New Business, these initiatives are also opportunities to spend time with colleagues in a different, laid-back environment, to get to know the different members of the team better, while helping the underprivileged. “This is the first time with Galp, but it certainly won't be the last”, he guarantees.


The days spent working at the Food Bank, however, make up a very small part of the assistance Galp provides to poor communities over the year.

The goal of this volunteer work was to prepare the first 200 Christmas baskets to be delivered to deprived families, which include donations raised through the “Every Step Counts” challenge. More than 680,000 meals have already been provided out of a goal of 1 million, a target Andy Brown believes will be met with the help of everyone – both within and outside Galp. “It's so easy, all you have to do is walk, cycle or run and another family gets a meal for every kilometre you complete”.

The “Every Step Counts” initiative arose during the pandemic in March 2021 as an internal incentive to encourage people to engage in sporting activity, with the additional appeal of a charitable goal. It was so successful that Galp decided to repeat the activity later the same year, but in a format open to society as a whole and with more ambitious goals. Last year, a million kilometres were completed and an equal number of meals were handed out. The results have been similar this year, and the target is getting closer and closer.