What is a Food Bank?

A food bank is a non-profit organization that uses the excess food that society produces to feed the needy. Food banks recover food free of charge from the food industry, retail stores and through donations from food aid programs and individuals. This food is then distributed to charitable organizations and social services that support people in need.

Food banks serve to fight against food waste, hunger and poverty. This not only helps people in need but also provides valuable environmental and social benefits.

Food banks represent the desire of society to take care of its least fortunate members and operate based on the principals of donation and sharing. There are four pillars of food banks:

• Food Security -The objectives of food banks are reducing food waste and the harmful environmental consequences of food waste and providing food aid to families in need. Food banks fight against waste and surplus food by recovering:

  • The agricultural surpluses
  • Excessive production in the food production sector
  • Acceptable food that cannot be sold in the market but can be consumed
  • Food waste from restaurants and hotels
  • Contributions from the public, collecting from schools and supermarkets

• Distribution – Food banks are non-profit organizations that partner with other non-profit organizations in the fight against hunger. They do not directly distribute food, but rather work with organizations that are intimately involved with people in need to ensure that the food they collect reaches the hungry.

• Operations – Food banks are non-profit organizations and operate with a minimal budget. Operations are supported by:

  • Donations of materials, equipment and food
  • Support of operational costs from third parties
  • Voluntary participation in programs and work

• Community involvement – Food banks exist because of the desire of people to work together in the service of others and to build a more equitable society. Anyone can give a little time, skills or personal benefits.