A Merry Christmas for the homeless

Just before Christmas, for the sixth year in a row, Pressalit's employees prepared and served a Christmas lunch for the socially vulnerable in Aarhus. The annual Christmas lunch is one of several socially responsible initiatives highly valued by Pressalit.

There's a real buzz this December morning at Værestedet in Aarhus, a popular meeting place for the city's socially vulnerable. But this Thursday is slightly different for the regulars. In the kitchen Pressalit's employees are busy preparing the annual Christmas lunch for the homeless, who are gradually starting to arrive.

This is the sixth year that Pressalit's Executive Vice President Dan Boyter has invited the city's socially vulnerable to Christmas lunch. The event forms part of Pressalit's overall philosophy on getting involved in the local community, which the company is a part of.

"The event has become a tradition that we try to keep. It's important to us to be able to provide a day of light and warmth in an otherwise cold time for these struggling people. We know that we can’t change the conditions of the homeless in one day, but as a company we would like to take our share of the responsibility and show that both private and public entities can contribute to creating better conditions for vulnerable groups in society", says Dan Boyter.

Three focus areas for CSR

In 2012 Pressalit's work with social responsibility was acknowledged with the CSR People Prize. Pressalit received the prize because CSR work is deeply rooted in the company and is based on three fundamental areas: Employees, environment and joint responsibility

Joint responsibility is a term that covers activities where Pressalit takes social responsibility and is an active problem solver of issues that lie outside the company's immediate focus area. The activities typically take place in Pressalit's local area, and are run in partnership with the municipality, local community or an interest organisation. Pressalit employees occasionally do voluntary work during their working hours. It could be as a business mentor for non-ethnic Danish women or as a volunteer fireman in the local Ry area.

Dedicated employees

Although Pressalit's employees have dedicated their working day to making Christmas lunch for the homeless, competition for places on the cooking team is fierce.

"The support from our employees for this day is so great that unfortunately not everyone can take part, even if they signed up for it. I think that what makes this event so great is that our contribution is very visible. Employees are able to meet the people they are helping. This is both healthy and motivating," says Dan Boyter.

Local TV station TV2 Østjylland was present at the Christmas lunch.