2,125 tonnes of food donations collected

By Kim Schiffmann, in News · 06-12-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Volunteer efforts were crucial in collecting donations for food banks, with over 40,000 people involved across the country.

The Food Banks Against Hunger collected more than 2,100 tonnes of food last weekend, in the campaign carried out in 2,000 commercial areas in 21 regions of the country.

40,000 volunteers from the 21 Food Banks (Abrantes, Algarve, Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Cova da Beira, Evora, Leiria-Fatima, Lisbon, Madeira West, Portalegre, Porto, Santarém, Setúbal, S. Miguel, Third, Viana do Castelo and Viseu) invited the Portuguese over last weekend to share the food they buy for their homes.

The Portuguese once again accepted the invitation of the Food Banks and joined a real social network, sharing food with people in need in their region.

Repeated confidence in the food banks was evident in the generosity of the contributions. “We cannot fail to underline the role of volunteers, people of all ages, with diverse political and religious beliefs who, side by side, contribute in a fraternal and supportive way to a fairer and more cohesive society”, says the President of Portuguese Federation of Food Banks against Hunger, Isabel Jonet. “We have to thank the thousands of donors, the volunteers, the companies and entities that supported this campaign, so they have made a great contribution so that Food Banks can continue to reach out to many people in need.”

The collected food will be distributed next week to 2,400 Social Solidarity Institutions, which deliver them to about 380,000 people with proven food shortages, in the form of baskets or cooked meals.

Isabel Jonet also points out that it is “very important and rewarding for all volunteers and for the Food Bank to be able to count on the support of the President of the Republic, who highlights this social network.”

By 8 December, it will also be possible to contribute to the campaign through “Ajuda Vale”, vouchers that will be available at BP’s supermarket or gas station boxes, each of which includes a barcode for one of five basic products (milk, olive oil, rice, tuna and sausages).

The Food Bank also makes available the online donation site www.alimentestaideia.pt, thus giving the opportunity to share to all who did not have the opportunity to go to the collection points during the weekend, to those who are or reside outside Portugal.
According to data released recently by INE, more than 2.2 million people are at risk of poverty in Portugal or social exclusion (21.6 percent of the population). If only income from labour, capital and private transfers were considered, 43.4 percent of the population in Portugal would be at risk.

The network of charities therefore plays a unique and irreplaceable role in helping those most in need, and food support is crucial in this aid.

These Food Bank campaigns also alert society as a whole to a reality that cannot leave anyone indifferent, and it is “very important not to forget that in everyday life there are still people who need help to eat, especially around Christmas, where having our family gathered around a table is a wish that we can each help to achieve,” says the Food Bank.

Food Banks Against Hunger activity continues throughout the year. In addition to twice-yearly supermarket collection campaigns, Food Banks Against Hunger receive daily food surpluses donated by the agri-food industry, farmers, supply chains and supply market operators. In this way food products are recovered that would otherwise be destined for destruction.

These surpluses are collected locally and nationally in strict compliance with hygiene and food safety standards. Thus, in addition to effectively addressing food shortages, Food Banks Against Hunger fight against a logic of waste and consumerism, a hallmark of today’s societies.

The 21 Food Banks Against Hunger distribute food throughout the year through Social Solidarity Institutions selected by them and permanently monitored by volunteers. These ensure a close and individualized monitoring of each person or family in need, so that it is possible to do, simultaneously, a real work of social inclusion, leading to autonomy.

According to data from the Portuguese Federation of Food Banks Against Hunger, last year the 21 Food Banks operating in Portugal distributed 24,262 tonnes of food (with an estimated value of €34 million), with an average movement of 97 tonnes per business day. Assisting 2,400 institutions, the food was delivered to nearly 380,000 people with proven food shortages in the form of baskets or cooked meals.


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