Topic 2.1: Food banks and Food Aid Programs

The first Food Bank, the St. Mary’s Food Bank, was founded by John Van Hengel in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) in 1967.

The impulse to create Food Banks was the need to obtain food needed in the soup kitchen, where John Van Hengel was a volunteer. The facility’s small budget did not allow it to meet the needs of all hungry people. In the beginning John recovered vegetables left in the fields and fruit remaining on the trees. As it turned out, the food managed to obtain exceeded the needs of the soup kitchen, so the products began to be delivered to other charities. The management of food surpluses was structured, and the network of Food Banks began to grow.

The first European Food Bank was established in France in 1984, two years later The Fédération Européenne des Banques Alimentaires – European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) was established to structure and support European Food Banks. In 2018, FEBA’s headquarters was moved to Brussels in order to be closer to European institutions and other European stakeholders and NGOs and professionally support the growth and development of its members. [1]

The main mission of Food Banks is to save food from being wasted and ensure food security for those in need. These organizations act as intermediaries, actively working to address the pressing issue of hunger by efficiently redistributing surplus food from various sources to those in need.

Banks try to counteract poverty and food waste. [1]

Food Bank

A food bank is a charitable organization or facility that gathers, stores, and disperses food to individuals and families facing hardship. The primary role of a food bank is to serve as an intermediary connecting food producers, retailers, and donors with charitable or community organizations aiding those dealing with food insecurity. [4]

Food Aid Program

A food aid program refers to a comprehensive initiative or system implemented by governments, international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to address food insecurity and provide assistance to vulnerable populations. These programs can take various forms, including direct food distribution, cash transfers, nutrition programs, and emergency relief efforts. [5]