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British Shoe Salesman Raises Almost $1 Million in Crowdfunding Effort to Save Greece

Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images
Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images

Thom Feeney, a 29-year-old London shoe shop worker, has raised almost a million dollars in an effort to help Greece pay off its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As of the time of this writing, Feeney had raised nearly $970,000 through an IndieGoGo campaign.

So many people visited the website that it crashed IndieGoGo’s entire server network.

“All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people of not. Why don’t we the people just sort it instead?” he said.

If Feeney does not raise the billions of euros he has set as a target by July 7, all donations will be refunded.

Greece owes about 1.6 billion euros, just shy of $1,770,000,000, to the IMF. The payment was due on Tuesday, but the Greek government was unable to pay it after other European countries refused to bail out the ailing southeastern European country.

That 1.6 billion euros are just a small part of Greece’s massive debt, about 330 billion euros in total—one of the highest per capita debts in the European Union.

Greece’s ruling party, Syriza, is a coalition of left-wing interest groups and ideologues. It won a snap election in 2015 on a 40-point platform that focused on expanding the welfare state and resisting attempts by outside European leaders to impose austerity measures on the nation.

Because of Syriza’s inability to compromise on austerity measures, the Eurozone refused to bail them out ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, flinging Greece into chaos and the global economy into uncertainty. Stocks tumbled across the globe in response to the bad news.

Feeney, however, thinks that much of the pain is avoidable. After doing some calculations, he believes that if every person in Europe simply gave his IndieGoGo campaign three euros, they would be able to pay off the payment the Greeks missed.

“That’s about the same as half a pint in London. Or everyone in the EU just having a Feta and Olive salad for lunch. So come on, order a Feta and Olive salad, maybe wash it down with an Ouzo or glass of Assyrtiko Greek wine and let’s sort this shit out,” Feeney said in his description.

Not only will the money raised by the campaign go to help solve the Greek debt problem, Feeney envisions the perks given to donors—all products made exclusively in Greece—will help boost the Greek economy.

Feeney says that this campaign is about direct action. He thinks that the people of Europe need to rally around Greece and help them in their time of trouble.

“The way to help a struggling economy is by investment and stimulus—not austerity and cuts. This crowdfunding is a reaction to the bullying of the Greek people by European politicians,” Feeney wrote in an op-ed published by The Guardian.


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