Food banks across our network have had to adapt their models for food collection and distribution, as many of the direct lines to communities have been shut-down due to COVID-19. According to a recent survey of 47 food banks in our network, 94 percent are reporting an urgent need for food, while 85 percent have had to change their methods of distribution to meet this increasing demand.

For example, about 10 million weddings a year take place in India, and about 10 to 20 percent of the food served at these weddings goes to waste, according to Zomato Feeding India. Ankit Kawatra founded Feeding India in 2014 after attending a wedding where massive amounts of food went to waste. In 2019, Feeding India distributed food to 13 million people – all of it rescued from weddings and catered events.

COVID-19 obliterated Feeding India’s access to donated food, and back in March the food bank had to quickly re-engineer its entire operational model.

“We work for our mission to end hunger,” said Ankit. “The current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world, and our country, to its knees. The fact that daily wage earners do not even have food to sustain themselves is a very unsettling feeling, and we want to change that. We at Zomato Feeding India have served more than 5,000,000 kits in 75 cities of India and our relief work is still ongoing.”
Photo courtesy of Zomato Feeding India
Our world produces enough food for all, but about one-third of food produced is wasted or lost before it reaches the dinner table. And with COVID-19 exacerbating issues of hunger, food insecurity, and food loss and waste everywhere, we anticipate that the number of people facing acute hunger could double to 265 million.

We know that food banking is a proven solution to ending hunger, and we took a major step forward yesterday with the launch of The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas. Alongside the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and with the support of the Walmart Foundation, we released the Atlas, a first-of-its-kind interactive resource to inspire long-term policy solutions to food waste, hunger and climate change.

The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas is game-changing, designed to pave the way for a global expansion of food donation. We invite you to visit this website and read about the laws and policies affecting food donation around the globe – as well as recommendations to prevent unnecessary food waste and improve food distribution to those in need.

While the Atlas is a significant document, we are viewing hunger through a COVID-19 lens right now. Policy change can be an arduous process, and we do not have time on our side in this moment. So we  partnered with FLPC to also produce the COVID-19 issue brief as a supplement to The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas.
Photo courtesy of Desarrollo en Movimiento Guatemala
The goal of this issue brief is to inform governments and policymakers of effective and urgent policy opportunities to support food banks and food recovery operations during the crisis. Among the recommendations in the brief are:For governments to officially recognize food banks and food recovery organizations and include these groups as part of emergency response measures.More strategically integrate food banks and food recovery organizations into existing social protection programs.Exempt food banks and food recovery organizations from certain emergency response measures (e.g., lockdowns, curfews, stay-at-home orders) to enable continued operation.For governments to offer additional funding, material, or logistics support, and avoid interrupting existing funding streams.It is our hope that governments will access the COVID-19 brief and understand the vital role that food banks are playing in the global crisis. By acknowledging the power of food banking and by partnering with food banks, governments can effectively deploy emergency food aid, strengthen national and local food systems, prevent costly food loss and waste, and reduce risk of hunger and food insecurity.

Feeding India is doing its part to mitigate the 40 percent of food loss and waste in India. All food banks in our network are doing their part. We know that the best way to advance a social change agenda is through partnerships. Here is hoping our COVID-19 issue brief and The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas encourage partnerships and collective impact.
Photo courtesy of Lagos Food Bank Initiative
We welcome your thoughts and feedback on the COVID-19 issue brief and the Atlas. Please share here.

And please follow us on social media and keep tabs on our COVID-19 response here.
My best,
Lisa Moon
President & CEO
The Global FoodBanking Network

About İsmail Uğural

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