By Caroline Parsons | Associate Director, Major Gifts
Banco de Alimentos Peru
With your support, The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) continues to respond, working tirelessly to serve those who have turned to food banks for support through this time of urgent need. Since the start of the pandemic, GFN has been surveying our network working to capture at a high level how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting food banks in the network. This is the third survey conducted since the pandemic began in March, and we have identified the following trends:
An estimated 27.54 million people served by GFN food banks in 2020, as of September – a more than 63% increase over 2019
An additional 10.6 million people, many of whom are newly unemployed, provided emergency food assistance in just 7 months
About 91% of food banking organizations are still seeing high levels of demand.
Food banking organizations are continuing to serve significantly more people (e.g. ABACO in Colombia reports serving 2.7m people during the pandemic, an increase from last year’s 650,000 people served). On average, food banking organizations are serving 211,000 more people during the pandemic (up from 107,000 estimated during our last survey).
Food banks distributed an average increase of 125% more food
Product donations are returning to pre-pandemic levels, and even though 89% of food banking organizations are still purchasing food to meet local needs and augment inventories, most report that less than 15% of their inventory is purchased.
82% of food banking organizations are serving more agencies than they were pre-pandemic.
83% of food banks changed food distribution methods to meet requests for emergency food.
75% of food banks are providing direct-to-recipient food distribution.
Importantly, at this stage in the pandemic, just 22.7% of the network is facing a critical funding shortfall, with 66.7% of the network reporting sufficient funds to continue relief in the immediate term.
Responses to this survey were made before some of the recent surges in COVID cases and new rounds of lockdowns.
By Caroline Parsons | Associate Director, Major Gifts
Food bankers in Australia
Between March and June 2020, GFN-supported food banks provided critical food relief in 51 countries on six continents in response to COVID-19. Food and hygiene products were delivered to an estimated 22+ million people facing hunger, up from 16.9 million pre-crisis. Carefully attuned to the unique needs of vulnerable populations, GFN member food banks launched targeted efforts to reach children who were missing meals at school, daily wagers suddenly left without income, and those at risk of severe illness such as seniors and immune-compromised populations. Thanks to vital support from partners like you, GFN continues to mobilize a humanitarian response that both addresses the immediate crisis and builds critical infrastructure in communities for a more resilient future.
GFN began monitoring the COVID-19 situation in East Asia in January 2020. Food bank members in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Korea, and Singapore were among those first affected, and responded swiftly and effectively. Their experiences, combined with GFN’s observations of how shutdowns were affecting access to food and other resources, informed the organization’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan, which was completed by mid-February. By the end of February, nearly all food banks in the East Asian region faced critical funding and food donation shortfalls and GFN deployed its first round of COVID-19 emergency response grants to affected members.
In early March, GFN formed an international knowledge-sharing hub to allow for quick dissemination of emerging practices specific to providing food relief during the crisis. Strategies were shared throughout the network, including with partners in Europe, the United States, and Japan. By mid-March, GFN had re-programmed budgets and staff resources to focus entirely on COVID-19 relief.
Between March and June 2020, GFN partnered with nearly 50 global companies to expand access to food and fund resources and invested more than US$11m in COVID-19 relief grants. These financial resources, complemented by technical support, enabled food banks to purchase key staples, hire additional staff to cope with rising demand and the loss of volunteers, and expand service to new communities and hard-to-reach populations. During this same period, the GFN network provided meals to an estimated 22+ million people facing hunger. On average, each GFN member food bank served an additional 107,000 people each month through their distribution channels. Most food banks in emerging and developing markets doubled their capacity. Your support helped to make this happen!
Please view the attached report outlining the work that has been done so far, and plans for future relief. Thank you for supporting the global food banking COVID-19 repsonse!
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