SOUTHINGTON, Connecticut — The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) is a non-profit organization that connects food banks across more than 40 countries. The organization has worked to support and empower food banks for 15 years. Since March 2020, food banks have become essential for global COVID-19 support. The GFN increased 2019 food assistance output to 16.9 million people. Meanwhile, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated food distribution efforts that reached 27.6 million people as of October 2020. The GFN requested donations from the public as the organization noted the 2 billion people faced food insecurity before the pandemic, with the numbers likely continuing to rise. The network believes in working in numbers and connecting 191,000 volunteers to the tens of millions who look to food banks to meet basic nutritional needs.
Banco De Alimentos De Paraguay and the GFN
Banco De Alimentos De Paraguay (BAPY) has worked as a GFN network member since 2012. In 2019, the organization recovered 127,500 kilograms of food or 382,000 dishes to distribute to approximately 90 beneficiary charities. The network of charity partners helps transport the food donations from the food bank warehouse to social organizations across rural areas of Paraguay. The foundation has incorporated COVID-19 precautions by establishing a virtual volunteer program.
The Paraguayan GFN affiliate added 34,000 beneficiaries and worked to increase charity partners by 25% in 2020. Organization food and other grocery distribution increased 40% during COVID-19 with the help of five corporate donors. The Paraguay foundation has worked on a rescuing fruit and vegetable project that has expanded from rescuing 1,000 to 3,500 kilograms of food per month for beneficiary distribution. The BAPY partnered with Fundación Paraguaya to contribute to 200 community popular pots, which are similar to soup kitchens, as a strategy to support Paraguay.
Banco De Alimentos Peru and the GFN
The GFN has partnered with Banco De Alimentos Peru since 2018. The BAP was established in 2014 as a response to food waste and increased hunger in Peru.
Banco De Alimentos Peru Project Coordinator Miriam Alegre Caballero spoke to The Borgen Project to provide information about food efforts. She shared that 3,642 tons of food donations were dispersed in 2019 and 8,764 tons of food donations were distributed with the help of 293 charity partners and 120 organizations outside of the food bank network in 2020.
The Peruvian Global Foodbanking Network partner provided food donations to 268,960 social organization beneficiaries across 18 regions of Peru during 2020. Alegre Caballero told The Borgen Project that “we’ve had to grow the size of our organization very fast because of the necessity,” by establishing a temporary warehouse through forming an alliance with the Bodegas San Francisco company and another charity in July 2020.
On top of rescuing farm fruits and vegetables to preserve dehydrated soups and other uses, the organization transports heme iron chocolates to help 110 children with anemia from San Juan de Miraflores, Peru. The BAP formed nine alliances with NGOs and companies that help provide food bank financial audit services and nutritional advice for food bank beneficiaries. The alliance members also help verify food transport with proper health and logistic transportation practices as a strategy to support Peru.
GFN COVID-19 Response
In response to the growing global unemployment rates and food insecurity, the GFN started a COVID-19 response fund in over 40 countries to help food banks with technical support and to appeal for vulnerable populations to receive government and organization relief. The GFN has worked to assemble the virtual Food Bank Leadership Institute (FBLI) from July to December 2020 in order to teach food banks about achieving Sustainable Development Goals, a zero food waste initiative and other lessons involving partnerships and technology that can help food banks work efficiently.
Alegre Caballero advised The Borgen Project that the BAP collaborates in a food rescue program with some of the 1,300 Large Wholesale Market of Lima sellers. They partner with over 100 supermarkets from the “Makro, Supermercados Peruanos and Cencosud” brands. According to Alegre Caballero, the supermarket partnership program represented approximately 33% of the food bank donations in 2020 with the help of volunteer ambassadors. The BAP “From the Field to your Table” program rescued approximately 100 tons of food per month from the Large Wholesale Market of Lima to transport to 15,000 beneficiaries from various institutions and shelters as a strategy to support Peru. The program rescued 137 tons of food from the Lima Large Wholesale Market in January 2021.
A Look Ahead
As Peru and Paraguay have struggled with high unemployment rates and COVID-19 cases since March 2020, the GFN Network has worked to support vulnerable populations. The network has been committed to helping 50 million people suffering from hunger by 2030 since June 2019. It expanded the GFN COVID-19 response to 51 countries with $11 million USD in COVID-19 relief over March to June 2020. Alegre Caballero informed The Borgen Project that the BAP will “continue developing more alliances” and “look for more donors of food” in 2021 as a strategy to support Peru.
As Global FoodBanking Network food banks work through emergency food distribution requests, the GFN focuses on providing food bank operations and grant support. It also empowers leaders who help food banks, protecting children in food poverty and accelerating community resilience by distributing 1.1 billion kilos of nutritious food as of October 2020.
– Evan Winslow