26 May 2010
Ireland’s Only Foodbank in campaign to save good food being destroyed – Crosscare
Representatives from Ireland’s only food bank are in Hungary this week to help start a European wide campaign to save good food that is being destroyed and to give it to people in need.
To mark the European year for combating poverty and social exclusion, representatives of 22 countries, including current and potential members of the European Federation of Food Banks, are meeting in Budapest from May 27th to 29th to discuss joint strategy and cooperation.
The goal of the meeting is to start a European wide campaign in order to save additional thousands of tonnes of food that is currently being destroyed and transfer it to people in need. The conference is held during the Poverty and Social Exclusion Awareness Week of the European Union.
Crosscare, the social care agency of the Dublin Diocese has run the country’s only foodbank in Ireland from Portland Row in Dublin for over a decade. Last year alone, they collected over 590 tonnes of surplus food and grocery products from the food distribution business and various food companies, many of them international.
The products collected for the Dublin food bank were redistributed to most of the main charities in the city including the St. Vincent de Paul, Dublin Simon, and Crosscare’s own food centres for the homeless. In the current economic climate, demand on the Dublin Foodbank has increased steadily as more and more people look for help with the most basic foodstuff for their families.
A longstanding member of the European Federation of Food Banks,(feba) the Crosscare Foodbank is in operation since 1989, Its work has resulted in estimated savings of half a million euro to the city’s voluntary organisations. Jack Dunphy, senior manager in Crosscare, who is attending the Budapest Conference said, “The food banking system avoids wasteful destruction of good food and contributes to a significant reduction in carbon emissions for the industry, it is clearly a no brainer in terms of providing food to those who need it — a win win outcome for all concerned.”
Based on surveys addressing major participants in the food industry and retail sectors, Food Banks estimate that there are still hundred thousands of tonnes of food wasted in Europe that could be saved and distributed to those who can’t afford to buy it. Therefore the Federation is planning to launch a European level campaign in order to collect as much as possible from this surplus before it becomes inedible and has to be destroyed. Participants during the conference in Budapest are discussing communication methods and best practices in order to run the most efficient campaign possible.
The conference is organized by the Hungarian Food Bank Association who is celebrating the 5th anniversary of its creation.
The European Federation of Food Banks includes 232 Food Banks in Europe. In 2009, they have distributed 328 720 tons of food, equivalent to 720 million Euros, to 25 900 charitable organisations and social services. They have enabled those organisations to support 4.7 million people in need.
Combating poverty and social exclusion – a statistical portrait of the European Union 2010:
Eurostat data explorer – Inability to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day (adjustable table)
2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion: