Advancing the food banking model globally will play a critical role in achieving the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal says a new report from The Global FoodBanking Network. Food banks – which provide meals to those facing hunger through recovering surplus food – operate at the community level in dozens of countries and are estimated to reach more than 15 million people outside of the United States. The report suggests that with greater support from global partners, this model could be replicated and scaled to help solve the challenge of hunger.
The State of Global Food Banking 2018: Nourishing the World is the first publication to profile food banks on a global scale and includes profiles of these food recovery organizations in more than 50 countries. The study provides insights and demonstrates the effectiveness of the food banking model as a grassroots, community-led hunger intervention.
The publication is released on the heels of an announcement that hunger is on the rise, with 821 million people facing chronic undernourishment and billions more struggling with food insecurity.
“With the international community’s goal of zeroing out hunger by 2030, the need for an effective method to address hunger and malnutrition has never been so clear,” said Lisa Moon, President and CEO, The Global FoodBanking Network. “As this report shows, food banking is a proven and locally adaptable solution in solving this pressing humanitarian challenge.”
Key findings and conclusions presented in the report include:
- Details on food banks served by The Global FoodBanking Network, operating in 31 countries, serving 7.78 million people, more than half of whom are children
- Food banks are an environmental asset as they procure wholesome, surplus food that might otherwise end up as waste throughout the supply chain and redirect it away from landfills to social service organizations that feed the hungry
- Because food banks’ success relies on the management of local community leaders rather than temporary foreign aid, the concept is positioned for long-term, sustainable success
- Food banks can be adapted and tailored to work within specific countries’ laws and respond to different community needs
- More than 60 million hungry women, children and families have access to food as a result of food banks
Food banks are formed by local leaders to procure safe and surplus food from commercial food systems, which might otherwise go to waste or to landfills, and repurpose it for distribution to those facing hunger directly through community service organizations. While known widely in the U.S. and Europe, in the last decade food banks have become critical community supports in many emerging market economies by providing food assistance to vulnerable populations that are too often left behind.