We are happy to share with you our report for the activities of the food bank in 2020. Our teams of volunteering groups worked hard, again.
Please click below to see the report and do send us an encouragement note if you’d like to.
We are happy to share with you our report for the activities of the food bank in 2020. Our teams of volunteering groups worked hard, again.
Please click below to see the report and do send us an encouragement note if you’d like to.
September 29 is International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. Food Bank Albania booths will be set up in 4 different points across Tirana, and all over Albania in the cities of Durrës, Elbasan, Fier, Lushnjë, Shkodër and Korçë.
Food Bank Albania is raising awareness about the severity and negative affects of food waste and food loss on both our planet and our people. Learn more on how you can help save food in your everyday routine. The saving of food will end up providing more to those in need. ? STOP food waste and help ? save our planet. ?
Celebrate with us by reading these important 9 easy tips which fight against food waste: http://foodbank.al/wp-content/uploads/Food-Waste-English.pdf
Our work has had quite a big impact in the last several months. Earthquakes and pandemic have not stopped the solidarity of Albanians to come together and provide help to many families in need. Food Bank Albania, working along side volunteers and donating businesses, is striving to deliver as much food and supplies as possible in all negatively affected areas of the country, while maintaining and respecting government regulations. Although it is a difficult time, many organizations have stepped up and given what they could in order to improve the situation many poor families are facing.
The recovery of fresh food produce has tripled to 20 tons per month and we are distributing more than ever. We expect to be delivering about 30-40 tons of fresh produce during each of the summer months. There are about 70 charities and 20 state institutions that receive this food from the food bank.
Since our last update in the end of November, Food Bank Albania has distributed over 223,000 kg of food, providing the equivalent of over 500,000 meals to those in need during these difficult times.
We thank each and every partner, supporter, volunteer and donor – including those in the fresh food markets, and all businesses contributing to this cause together.
Our partnering distributing NGOs, who distribute both fresh and packaged food to the hungry families, have responded quickly when we have notified them of food supplies ready for shipment. As the quantity of fresh food donations has multiplied, we implemented a solution to extend the life of the food by installing a cooling room. It was made possible through a special dutch donation and it will help us better manage the fresh food supply. This will highly impact our operations; and there will be more time available to distribute the larger loads of food received, as well as better handling of area distributions. It will also better support the soup kitchens in the most affected areas.
Although the demand for food and help has steadily increased, Food Bank Albania has worked around the clock time and again to respond. It is not an easy job, a job that requires not only the dedication of our volunteers but also the safety of their lives and the lives of those who serve them in a very complex situation.
Other activities in the last few months included:
Banka Shqiptare e Ushqimit kërkon të informojë publikun që për shkak të emergjencës Covid – 19 po punojmë në mënyrë intensive për t’iu gjendur pranë familjeve në nevojë. Me anë të fondeve dhe dhurimeve tona të deritanishme jemi duke grumbulluar dhe shpërndarë edhe më shumë ushqime. Megjithatë, duhet të theksojmë që, gjatë dy javëve të fundit, kërkesat për ndihmë janë pothuajse dyfishuar. Ne kemi mbështetur dhe vazhdojmë të mbështesim edhe familjet e dëmtuara nga tërmeti, megjithatë kriza e tanishme është sfidë për kapacitetet e çdo organizatate, apo çdo institucioni. Kërkojmë ndihmën tuaj në mënyrë që të vazhdojmë të punojmë për të ndihmuar familjet që kanë nevojë për mbështetjen tonë.
Bankat e ushqimit në të gjithë Evropën ridrejtojnë tepricat ushqimore tek shtresat në nevojë. Edhe Food Bank Albania, pjesë e Federatës Evropiane të Bankave të Ushqimit (FEBA), po përpiqet me të gjitha forcat e saj për të rritur bashkëpunimin e institucioneve, bizneseve dhe organizatave të ndryshme brenda e jashtë vendit që të ndihmojnë në shpërndarjen e ndihmave ushqimore. COVID-19 ka treguar që mund të prekë këdo, por statistikat gjithashtu tregojnë që shtresat më të prekura janë shtresat më vulnerabël të shoqërisë si dhe më të varfërat nga ana ekonomike.
Pandemitë janë të lidhura ngushtë me plagët sociale të tilla si uria. Për këtë arsye gjatë dy javëve të fundit kemi shpërndarë më shumë se 1000 pako ushqimore në bashkëpunim me institucione shtetërore të tilla si Bashkia Tiranë, Shërbimi Social në Shkodër, Shërbimi Social në Elbasan, Prefektura Mirditë dhe të gjitha organizatat e tjera lokale që i kemi mbështetur dhe vazhdojmë t’i mbështesim në punën e tyre të përditshme.
Mund të ndihmoni dhe ju duke na shkruar në adresën e emailit: email@example.com
Recent earthquakes have forced thousands of people from their homes in Albania in what many are saying is the worst earthquake in decades, and are awaiting reports of structural damage. As of recent reporting, 25 people have perished in the ruins, and several hundred injured and in hospitals. Over 500 aftershocks have occurred in the previous 24 hours and many Albanians lost their homes and personal belongings leaving them with little or nothing in their possession.
The Albanian government, along with many organisations in both Tirana and Durres region are helping in many ways they can by providing shelter centres for people to sleep, eat and get assistance. Other organisations are helping with clothing and provisions. Food Bank Albania is one such organisation that is in the midst of some urgent response action, organising way for NGO’s and institutions to receive and distribute food and ready-to-go meals to those in need.
Many people are helping by volunteering, and are doing their best to reach the areas of need, close to the epi-center of damage. Ongoing search continues to rescue many of those trapped in ruins. This is a time of action and serving. Wherever the need is, Food Bank Albania is trying to quickly respond, and we thank emergency response organizations for their efforts in this matter. Future plans include raising more food for those in need in some food drives and other projects, so that the affected people can get back on their feet and have enough food for a longer time range. In the mean time, we pray for quick recovery and rescue, and for those volunteering. Your service will make a difference in the lives of many people who need help.
At the food bank we have a reason to celebrate almost every day. Almost every day we send out food and free meals to the people in need in our country, to north and south, to east and west. We know that this food we give out, or should we better say, the food that YOU give out, brings nutrition and care to those that are less fortunate than us.
Just yesterday, we were donated a van, a vehicle that we really needed from almost one year now. We celebrated this milestone as three times more fresh food will be saved in a monthly basis starting from next week. It is real, it is here. And we are ready to go starting from the coming week.
But today, we have yet another reason to celebrate. It is World Food Day today. And we are reminded of the importance of treating our beloved earth with respect. This is because when food is wasted, all the energy that went into making that food is wasted; electric or mechanical energy used, human force, transportation costs are
all wasted with that. But not only; a tiny bit of pollution was emitted when that food was made. This pollution, coupled with the pollution that is created from methane gas emitted from the rotting of that food makes it hard on our earth. And think about all that waste, while that food never reached someone’s table.
This is why we do what we do. It really is stupid to waste. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. Moreover, food waste uses about 25% of the entire world’s fresh water supply.
So, today we celebrate. We reflect on our impact on the planet. We also see the potential in front of us, bringing nutrition and dignity to those who are less fortunate than us. Happy World Food Day!
We did it! Together in solidarity, we have all accomplished a fantastic goal. For the first time we have passed the 100,000kg mark of food distribution within a year – in 2018. This amount will continue to increase and we look forward to seeing Albanian government law changes which would increase the amount of food given to poor families in need, and as well to social soup kitchens. A BIG thank you to every volunteer, corporation, business, organization, school and to every person who helped contribute to this good cause. Together we fight poverty in Albania, step by step.
Let’s take a quick look back on 2018’s food collection and distribution, and the impact it has had on the prevention of food waste:
Most of the food was distributed though parcels of food to many NGOs across the country. About one third of the food was donated from fresh food merchants, which allowed us to save up to a whopping 96 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) from being released into the atmosphere due to the potential food wasted.1
Food collections in supermarkets provided over 30,000 meals through 15 different weekends of supermarket food drives, over 300 volunteers, and 80 separate business food collections, all totaling about 12,000kg. As well, thousands of kilograms of food was raised from farmers who are supported through one of our food production projects in the rural areas. Last year also consisted of:
– Schools’ project: Education, awareness and food drives totaling almost 10 full tonnes of food raised from schools in Tirana. We are glad we are able to equip our youth with quality and updated material regarding food waste and ways to prevent it.
– Special events: Red Cross project cooperation for our golf game fundraising project and a separately organized Christmas Bazaar fundraiser which together provided over 1400 meals for families in need.
– Soup Kitchens & Social service distributions: Serving 10 soup kitchens in Albania
– Winter project: Covering Tirana, Elbasan and Shkoder, distribution of 27,000 kg of food
– NGO’s: All this could not happen without the sacrificial support of over 40 NGO’s throughout Albania. Thank you all!
With that said, poverty and food waste are still major issues in Albania. Almost a quarter of the population are close to or below the poverty line and may not know where their next meals for the month will come from due to financial constraints. All recipients FBA helps are in need and constantly need your help, volunteering and connections to turn this country around. Please help us overcome these obstacles and change the country one step at a time. For more information on volunteering, read and send us the volunteer application. If you are an NGO or Business, you can read about partnering with us and send an application. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
May 2019 be a year of blessing to you, and a year of plenty for the poor in Albania.
1 Total amount of fresh food collected in 2018 was about 30 tonnes. Approximately 3.2kg CO2 is produced from 1kg of food waste (4.5kg CO2/kg food waste according to https://www.energylivenews.com/2017/05/16/eu-food-waste-produces-170m-tonnes-of-co2-a-year/ and as low as 1.9kg CO2/kg food waste according to https://watchmywaste.com.au/food-waste-greenhouse-gas-calculator/)
Why do we need a Food Bank?
We hope this email finds you well. Please read our latest newsletter below:
What makes a food bank different from other organisations? After all, all non-profits serve a worthy cause to follow and support. All non-profits work hard for positive change and so why is the food bank different?
Well, based on its social mission and humanitarian efforts, it is not that different. A food bank is just another non-profit that works hard to care for people and the planet. But on the other hand, a central food bank is a vital organization in mostly every country. Food banks allow for the collection and distribution of all donated food across the country. Food banks require massive energy to reach their purposes.
You see, the amount of money invested, the number of volunteers committed, with professionals serving through their skills and passion, is a must for the food bank to thrive. In countries with relatively new food bank operations, only after a commitment from many contributors, the society can see the difference that a food bank makes. It is like a new automotive company that works for years before the first prototype is made.
Let us talk in figures why we need the food bank, and the immediate results of commitment and problems that Food Bank Albania faces in its mission.
How You Can Help – your contribution makes a difference
If one volunteer commits to help out for six months to the food bank of Albania, it is equivalent of about 3500 kg food raised for the poor. 1 For every month of a volunteer’s time, they raise enough food to completely feed 15 people, 3 healthy meals a day for the entire month. Therefore one volunteer’s work is multiplied 15 times over, making a huge difference in ending poverty.2
If a professional, whether an accountant, legal advisor, driver, translator, or manager, commits only 4 hours a week to the food bank, it would be equivalent to providing over 270 meals per month to families in need just in the amount of salary cost savings, but also provides an increase in food raised due to the expansion of projects.3
A good accountant could save hundreds of dollars in fines, which could put a huge dent in a small NGO’s social reach. A legal advisor could help us pave the path to needed law changes which will greatly increase the amount of donated food we can receive. A driver could help us add 3 additional supermarket points during food drive collections, equaling to several hundred more kilograms of food raised in a single weekend. A translator expands our educational outreach, informing the young generation on the severe effects of food waste, encouraging them to fight for social causes, as well as helping with important documentation.
A donor could provide a meal for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) every day for a month with just 45 Euro.4
These figures are helpful; they show how much the food bank needs helping hands in order to be productive. But think about these other questions that a food bank MUST know, so that we can serve carefully, where the biggest and most urgent need is:
What is the level of food waste in Albania? No studies have ever been undertaken on the specific issue. Based on different studies, the food bank estimates that if we work together and reduce food waste even only 20 % of what it currently is, Albania should be able to feed about 117.000 people.
The World Bank estimates that only one third of the poorest 75.000 families in Albania are helped financially from the state. These 75.000 families make 10 % of the whole population.
How many elderly live below the poverty line? How many children live under the poverty line? What IS the legal accepted poverty line in Albania? Since half of the population is directly connected with the village, what are ways that can boost the rural population’s earnings?
Charity work is not that simple after all. We need the figures in order to make our cause known and seen, in order to speak on behalf of those that have no strength of voice in society.
The Fresh Food Project
We are glad to inform you that the Fresh Food Project has been a success. It was started in the end of last year and we have received several thousand kilograms of quality food. Throughout this project, we are able to recover food from going to waste every week. Our volunteers working at the main fresh food market collect food donated from the merchants and then quickly distribute it to up to 10 soup kitchens within the day, half of them in Tirana where the majority of the population lives. The project is active in Tirana and Elbasan and will soon extend into other cities as well. We are glad to see many merchants donate food to the poor. All people have the right to eat healthily and the soup kitchens are the perfect solution for a quick and healthy meal.
The Seeds Project
We are also happy to announce that our Seeds Project this year won the first prize for INNOVATION at the European Food Banks’ Federation, FEBA. This project consists of supporting needy farmers with quality seeds that the farmers can use in their land. Many farmers need quality seeds as well as tools to work the land. Sometimes, the food bank cannot easily take a food aid parcel to a family living in a remote rural area. So, we have initiated this project in order to take good quality seeds to the farmers which can support them during the entire year with fresh food produce. One parcel of food is more than enough for a family, and just in the last year, the food bank distributed 500 parcels of seeds. This project is not just giving out food to the poor; it gives a sense of dignity and ownership, since the farmer works on his own land, raising his own food.
Lobbying for a change in the fiscal law for more food donations
Our food supply has grown each year, and the network has now been enlarged with additional state institutions receiving food from the food bank. But our donor businesses are still not able to receive any tax credit for their food supplies to us. The paradox is that on one hand our country has lots of good food that is thrown away and on the other hand we have people in need that cannot access that food. It is easier for companies to throw out surpluses then to donate it to the food bank.
This is a big minus to our work. The cost is social, economic and environmental. Our recent meeting with high officials at the ministry of Finances and Economy only led to another request for more information and at the same time asked for additionally working with the Ministry of Agriculture. We will not be dismayed, but we can’t wait to see an ending to our challenge.
An ending note
As the new school year starts, we are more than ready to keep going in our projects. The food bank moved to a new office in June. It offers more storage as well as more meeting space. We have recently purchased a minivan that will serve the needs of the fresh food project and have also prepared well upcoming fall projects in supermarkets and businesses. As we speak, a special fundraising campaign is being organised in cooperation with the Red Cross of Albania; an event that will include main restaurants and hotels in Tirana.
Thank you for reading! In order to stay updated with our news, please follow our Facebook page and visit us at foodbank.al
1 Based on 2016 total food raised of 30450 kg and 2017 total food raised of 26451.5 kg just within Albania with 2 staff and 2 full-time volunteers. The total amount of food raised (excluding importing from outside sources) in an average six-month period based on these last 2 years statistics is 14225 kg, therefore on average 3556kg per full-time staff/volunteer.
2 15 people at 3 meals a day for one month equals 1350 meals. One meal is equivalent to 0.4kg of food. Based on statistic above, a full-time volunteer raises just over 590kg of food a month, equivalent to 1422 meals, just over the amount needed to feed 15 people every meal for the entire month.
3 Based on rate of 1000 ALL per hour for professional services, equal to about 17000 ALL per month of expenses. The cost for 1 meal is 0.5 Euro or about 62 ALL, therefore about 270 meals purchased from 17000 ALL.
4 Based on a 30-day month and a family of 4 with two young children which consume the same amount of food as one adult. Therefore 3 adult meals a day would be needed for a total of 90 meals in the entire month, at a cost of 0.5 Euro per meal equals to about 45 Euro total.
During the last year, Food Bank Albania has been working hard to find and distribute food for the poor as well as teach youth how important it is not to waste. We continue to reach more areas around the country; but, at the same time, we struggle to acquire enough food to meet the demand of the organisations we support.
We often see a direct link between poverty and other social problems. This can be a result of the place where you live, the family you come from and a perceived lack of opportunities. We hear countless stories from people in need. People seek hope and someone to reach out to.
Food Bank Albania is an organisation that collaborates with non-government organizations (NGO) throughout Albania. Food Bank Albania supplies food to the NGOs, then NGOs distribute the food to those in need. This distribution model has proved successful.
We focus on our relationship with food suppliers and NGOs and rely on our distribution partners to assist the people in their community. NGOs know the people in their communities well; they know who needs food the most and other forms of assistance. The Food Bank, through the NGOs, supports families for several consecutive months at a time in an effort to appease their dilemma as they overcome their challenges.
Our projects have allowed us to distribute about 70 tons of food during 2017. We are thankful to all volunteers and donors for their support and work. We would like to thank our distribution partners as well as they are the ones who do the final leg work; meeting and helping people in need.
We hope that 2018 will be an even better year for our organisation and for our country. And for that, your help is also much appreciated. It actually is very needed. Can you support us during this year as we support those who cannot speak for themselves? Whether being a volunteer or spreading the word, a small donation of food or a connection with a business, school or an organisations, these are all ways to contribute.
Let us do this together! Solidarity for food!
First of all, we have been able to reach many more businesses this year by our online campaign. We have had more donations and have made more friends than ever before.
Also, more food is being distributed to soup kitchens, allowing us to feed many children and adults. It is good to provide basic food such as rice or pasta. However, eating the same food product almost every day may not allow the correct nutritional balance for everyone. This is why we decided to provide the funding for nutritious food for one of these soup kitchens which feeds about 150 children every week. This food will have all the calories that a child needs to thrive every day.
We have also reached agreements with two other NGOs focusing on women in need, such as lone mothers, orphan mothers and women in risk of trafficking. As we continue our selection process of applicant NGOs, we feel the Food Bank can reach even further, to those who are in need the most in Albania. We understand that poverty is everywhere but our goal is to provide for the poorest, those who have less hope and are in remote areas.
On the other hand, we have had a few setbacks too. Despite our continuous efforts for passing changes in the taxes regime for donations, it hasn’t happened yet. The recent changes in the Albanian government and the last month’s elections have made it impossible for the law to be implemented as of yet. We are blessed with our partners, the Embassy of the Netherlands and Pricewaterhouse Coopers who are helping us by drafting and submitting the changes required and providing the right connections and meetings. We remain very hopeful that in Autumn we will see a breakthrough in these efforts.
Our first, and so far, most important project, the schools’ project is being redesigned now to include other teaching material, food preserving techniques, and more visuals. We believe that the fight against food waste can be won by education first and foremost. We have see that more than 90% of school children are not taught about the environmental aspect of food waste and how easy it is to avoid it. This is why we are stepping up in our focus this year to reach more students than ever before.
We said goodbye to Adrian, our U.S. Peace Corps volunteer who tirelessly worked with us during the past year and a half. At the same time, we have been able to improve our cooperation with U.S. Peace Corps during this time, who have supported us by increasing our capacity as well as in our efforts to be represented in other cities of Albania where we currently don’t have activity yet.
If you are one of our volunteers, we would like to thank you for your commitment and energy. Even only 4 hours of your time equals to about 30 kg of food collection, enough food for a small family for a week. Thank you for being part of our journey.
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