CHP Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s “Askıda Fatura” (Bill on the Hook) campaign has raised over 1 million USD in 30 hours to help more than 57,000 households struggling to pay their water and gas bills in Istanbul due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign aiming to provide support for people financially burdened by the coronavirus pandemic was launched by CHP Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on May 4.
Through the web portal askidafatura.ibb.gov.tr the campaign anonymously matches people with outstanding utility bills with those willing to cover the cost of these bills out of an act of solidarity.
In 31 hours, the campaign generated over 1 million USD (7,351,203 TL) and helped 57,177 people in Istanbul pay for their water and gas bills.
“Tonight we are full of bliss. Our city’s show of solidarity is setting an example for the entire world,” Mayor İmamoğlu wrote in a late-night tweet on May 6.
Proud of this act of social solidarity.@municipalityist has revived the longstanding Turkish tradition of paying it forward by raising over 3 million TL to fund the unpaid utility bills of those financially burdened by the pandemic. Well done, Istanbul!https://t.co/9ZMbfwtLKx pic.twitter.com/zP38LQAUIK
— Ekrem İmamoğlu (International) (@imamoglu_int) May 6, 2020
MEANING OF ‘BILL ON THE HOOK’
The campaign borrows its name from a longstanding Turkish tradition that dates back centuries, whereby a person would go to a bakery and pay for two loaves of bread instead of one, telling the baker that the other loaf will be “on the hook”.
This extra contribution would then be held alongside others, and when people unable to afford bread would come in throughout the day and ask “Is there bread on the hook?”, they would be able to get a loaf of bread without having to pay the baker.
This way, the person paying for the extra bread on the hook would be paying it forward and anonymously help someone who needs that bread.