NENO is not the only organization to give out awards for accomplishments in civil society. In last November, the Estonian Ministry of Culture named Pieter Boerefijn, founder of the Food Bank, Citizen of the Year. The Food Bank is also the recipient of NENO’s Civil Society Award.
Boerefijn was born and grew up in the Netherlands, but moved to Estonia 16 years ago. He has been involved with over 900 charitable projects, from supporting youth centers to eldercare. His last project, the Food Bank collects leftover food items from stores and restaurants and distributes them to people suffering from malnutrition.
He was also involved with the coin collection campaign, encouraging people to donate their leftover Kroon coins to the Food Bank, instead of converting them to Euros or simply throwing them away during the 2010-2011 currency change.
Candidates for the Citizen of the Year award were nominated publicly. Recent winners include the composer Erkki-Sven Tüür, Rainer Nõlvak, initiator of the Lets Do It campaign, freedom fighter Lagle Parek and others. The award was first given in 1999.