The critical role of food banks during the pandemic
In this global epidemic, billions of people are fighting a great fight to survive. In such an environment, the global philanthropists who act with the approach of "We should not expect everything from the government" are doing their best to keep humanity alive through the food banking system. Let's recall the critical role of food banks at the October 16, World Food Day and the October 17, World Poverty Day, respectively.
Before I go into further detail, I will start by defining some of the terms to help clarify.
What is a pandemic?
Pandemics or pandemic diseases are the general name given to epidemic diseases that spread over a wide area such as a continent or even the entire surface of the world. According to the definition of WHO (World Health Organization), the occurrence of a pandemic is subject to 3 conditions: the emergence of a disease that the population has not been exposed to before, the transmission of the disease-causing agent to people and finally the spread of the disease factor easily and continuously among people (See : https://www.hurriyet.com.tr/galeri-pandemi-nedir-pandemi-ne-demek-kisaca-pandemi-hakkinda-bilgiler-41485692).
What is a Food Bank?
A food bank is a non-governmental organization that collects, separates, stores and distributes donated food, clothing, cleaning and hygiene products to those in need.
Firms and individuals deposit their food, clothing and cleaning products into this "bank", and those who need them "seek" these products from the bank. For details, you can check TIDER's website: https://www.tider.org/tur/gida-bankaciligi
What is UN FAO?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO; Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO) is an organization that was established in 1943 to eliminate hunger and improve nutritional conditions and became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946. You can read the details at https://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C4%B1da_ve_Tar%C4%B1m_%C3%96rg%C3%BCt%C3%BC, enter the official website: www.fao.org
About two weeks ago (September 29), the International Awareness Day of Food Loss and Waste was celebrated with the organization of FAO: http://www.fao.org/international-day-awareness-food-loss-waste/en/
In addition, "World Food Day" is organized every year on October 16 to celebrate the establishment of UN FAO. The theme of this year has been determined as "Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together”.
It is hoped that studies on the prevention of food waste will increase, ensuring sustainability in food and be adopted by everyone. Actually, this is one of the important missions of TIDER.
In fact, I have shared our Vision for Waste Prevention many times over the past years. Let me share it again with you:
On this occasion, I’d like to commemorate 16th of October World Food Day!
October 17 “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty”
The United Nations, one of the aims of which is to fight against poverty, declared October 17 as “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” on 22 December 1992. The UN administration cares so much about this that it has placed the "Ending Poverty" target in the first place in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Of course, I feel I have to ask "Is poverty decreasing in the current period?" Unfortunately, especially during the Covid-19 period, poverty is increasing exponentially. We have a lot of data on this. In this period, the importance of food banking institutions such as GFN and TIDER is once again revealed. On this occasion, we commemorate October 17, “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty”
What is GFN (Global Foodbanking Network)?
GFN is the global food banking network. In other words, it is a non-governmental organization that provides an environment where all food banks in the world are members, exchange ideas, share their knowledge and experience and carry out social activities together. GFN is also a supportive non-governmental organization that directs international suppliers, establishes grant programs and transfers know-how for all food banks and national networks around the world. To get to know GFN better, you can check the website: https://www.foodbanking.org/
In order to understand the state of the hunger crisis in the world during the Covid-19 period, let's look at the important messages GFN recently shared with the food banks in its network:
● Covid-19 created an environment that turned from health into a hunger crisis.
● 690 million people are struggling with chronic hunger, and this figure may increase by 130 million this year due to Covid-19. Women and children suffered the biggest blow.
● One in 4 people suffers from food security problems. The financial power of 3 billion people is not enough to meet healthy meals.
● Hundreds of millions of children around the world have to skip meals at school. GFN and the food banks in its network are developing and implementing operations and programs for children in need.
● While Covid-19 increases the demand for food at an unprecedented rate, it is driving us towards a global hunger crisis. Food banks are struggling to meet this demand with limited resources and opportunities.
● Efforts to prevent food loss and waste (FLW) constitute an opportunity in the fight against hunger.
● One third of the total food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted.
● Although malnutrition is a growing problem in our world, about half of the fruits and vegetables produced go to waste.
● Food loss and waste (FLW) is responsible for 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions. If FLW were a country, it would rank third in the world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
Food banks offer food and hope
● Many people apply for help for the first time.
● With the contributions of GFN, food banks in 44 countries have supported approximately 22 million people since the Covid-19 crisis.
● Food banks in 44 countries on GFN's network served more than 100,000 new needy people during the Covid-19 outbreak.
● Food banks recycle the foods that will be lost and deliver them to the needy. Strengthening food banks means fighting hunger by reducing food loss and waste.
● GFN helps food banks develop their skills and experience, access food, build a workforce, invest in equipment and be strongly organized.
Food banks in GFN's network published these messages between September 29 and October 17 and shared them with the public. They called this campaign "Service of Hope", in other words "Serving Hope". All over the world, these campaigns were held in food banks of different countries.
From waste to paper bag outfits
While I mention the different situations in the world, the presence of creative people emerging during the pandemic, makes me very happy. Here's the news about the Australian dancer Ashleigh Perrie performing paper bag art on a quarantined cruise ship: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/cruise-ship-performer-makes-paper-bag-outfits/index .html
TIDER also carried out these international campaigns in Turkia. Here are some images of TIDER below:
I have previously written two articles about what TIDER has done during the pandemic. Let me share them to remind you:
GFN has lent a helping hand to a total of 75 million people through its network of food banks and national organizations. In summary, TIDER has delivered basic needs products to more than 620,000 people and continues to deliver. Beyond conventional food banking, it has also carried out innovative businesses such as Vending Food Banks. You can also follow what TIDER has done on their website at the link https://www.tider.org/.
Is this enough? Of course not. I personally receive dozens of requests for help each week. People in our country and all over the world are going through a tougher test than ever before and during the Covid-19 period. Neither I nor TIDER, of which I am the founder, cannot keep up with all of these demands. We simply cannot catch up.
Unity and solidarity are essential
If our government, private sector and all non-governmental organizations cooperate; It may be possible to meet the emerging need to a significant extent only with solidarity to overcome this demand.
Still, I am proud of TIDER, our other NGO brothers in Turkia and other food banks doing their best in the GFN network. Thanks to what we have done through these NGOs when it was needed the most, we can be a remedy for people's troubles. There are NGOs working not only on people but also on animals. The needy do not only consist of people. I would also like to share the following link to make a reminder about animals: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-H2sxKhXfS/?igshid=jjxz2zqtlw16
These difficult times will pass. Our work will continue until we create a world order where there is no waste and no needy left.
Those who want to support TIDER in this challenging struggle can go to the link https://fonzip.com/tider/bagis#/ and donate. Thank you in advance for your support.