To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. These Better Stories cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.

This Better Story was collected by Lina Sandstrom



Örebro Stadsmission (city mission) was founded in 2015 but distributed left over food before then in limited scale under a different name. Matcentralen (Food Central) is a shop that sells donated food from local businesses to individuals who are unable to meet their basic food needs through other means.

Navigating high Demand

It was founded in cooperation with Immanuelskyrkan in 2019. When the pandemic hit, demand for the service increased dramatically and they moved to larger premises in June 2020. Due to inflation and high food prices, demand continues to be high.

In 2019, they donated 80 shopping baskets per week, in august 2022, this had gone up to 270. The food in Matcentralen could be near expiration date, or the packaging may be damaged, but it goes through a quality check and is sold in a setting similar to a standard supermarket where members can decide for themselves what they want to buy. People who find it difficult to make ends meet can become members and buy a gift card for 50 SEK (€5) which pays for five shopping baskets (one per week).

Photo de Aaron Doucett sur Unsplash

Find out more about the initiative