Jacques Vandenschrik, President of the European Food Banks Federation, interviewed by CNN on 29 December 2020.
COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for the European Food Banks Federation and our members.
Since its outbreak, our members have daily worked facing the challenge not just to rescue surplus food from the food supply chain but also to ensure its safe redistribution to charities helping people in need across Europe.
While experiencing a 30% growth of food demand at European level, with a range from 6% to 90% in the different countries, our members are redistributing more food, for instance from closed restaurants or canteens. This means that operating costs which are vital to pursue the daily activity are increasing too.
In order to meet immediate needs and provide a concrete response to the emergency, on 21 March, the European Food Banks Federation decided to launch an open call for solidarity to establish a COVID-19 Social Emergency Fund with the aim to secure the activity of its members and ensure no good food is going to waste while helping charities to feed people in need.
The response to this call has gone beyond any expectations. In this period many companies have offered their support with economic donations to sustain the daily activity of Food Banks. Thanks to this concrete engagement between March and November 2020, the European Food Banks Federation has supported its members with over €4.2 million for COVID-19 related actions in 27 countries. The funds have been used for concrete needs: increased costs of the daily activity (rent, utilities, etc.), additional staff for handling the increased volumes of food, new vehicles to ensure food redistribution, digital tools to facilitate communication, new equipment for the warehouses, PPE to protect volunteers and employees, new warehouse IT systems, and much more.
We need more and more support to carry on the activity.
“With the support of everyone – public authorities, businesses, charities, volunteers, and citizens – we can grow together through adversity and shed a positive light on a brighter future”
Jacques Vandenschrik, President of the European Food Banks Federation
Since the beginning of the pandemic FEBA has released 4 reports to tell the story of European Food Banks, highlighting challenges, urgent needs and their concrete response to prevent food waste and support charities helping people in need.
Today, European Food Banks are up and running: they are carrying out their activity while they are managing double amounts of food
and experiencing a growing food demand of 30% at European level, with a range going from 6% to 90%.
European Food Banks and Food Bankers continue to play their role as reliable partner to foster the resilience of the food supply chain and to help charities feeding those in need. FEBA is committed to support its members in this unprecedented period.
The European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) is a European non-profit organization and works in collaboration with 24 Full Members and 5 Associate Members in European countries.
For almost 35 years, FEBA mission has consisted in representing its membership at European and international level, supporting and strengthening Food Banks in Europe by providing training, sharing best practice and knowledge, and developing partnerships, and fostering the creation of new Food Banks.
FEBA brings together 421 Food Banks and branches which are committed to fight against food waste and to feed the most deprived. Our members provide 4.3 million meals each day to 9.3 million most deprived people through 45,700 charitable organizations thanks to the professionalism of 31,700 co-workers (85% volunteers).
In addition to surplus food from the food supply chain, FEBA members also redistribute food from the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD) and the Fruits and Vegetables withdrawal scheme, as well as from individual donations.