28 September 2015
FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell talks to the Global Foodbanking Network (GFN) about the environmental and humanitarian value of foodbanking:
I am an environmentalist so I hate waste. I think doing the right thing with surplus food is to eat it! And if food banks can ensure that hungry people have access to that food, well, that is fantastic.
I describe a food banker as anybody who cares passionately about reducing waste, alleviating hunger and helping people rise above poverty. Food banking fuels my desire to make a difference. It just drives me from the moment I wake up to the moment I go home.
The many faces of hunger
Many people think hunger is about “I want another meal.” But hunger is actually about “why can’t I feed myself?” Is it because I have an addiction? Is it because I have mental health issues? Is it because I’ve lost my job? Is it because my job doesn’t cover my mortgage? Hunger looks like gambling. Hunger looks like death. Hunger looks like mental health. Hunger is widespread and varied.
Food banks help people get back on their feet by connecting them with the agencies that provide them with food and also address the reasons why they go hungry in the first place.
Around the corner from us in London is a drug rehab facility. They provide free meals and that encourages users to come in for treatment. The facility has seen a 40% increase in visits since FareShare UK began providing food. That’s 40% more people who have started rehab programs and that’s 40% of people whose lives aren’t being ripped apart. It just makes a real difference.
Here’s another example. A couple of years ago, a social worker told us about a family that had just one raw egg in the cupboard on Christmas Eve. The local food bank made some calls and quickly rounded up volunteers. One day later, that family had a full Christmas dinner, turkey and all. They felt embraced by the community. That’s the kind of difference food banking makes in people’s lives.
Want to get involved?
There are many ways people can support food banks. Every food bank needs more money, more volunteers, more hands and more support. Learn more. Tell your friends. Just get engaged. I think, “Why wouldn’t you?”
If there is not a food bank in your community, you can directly support GFN and help us advance our collective work to reduce food waste and alleviate world hunger.
FareShare UK is a member of GFN, which represents 750 food banks in 34 countries around the world. Being part of this diverse and dedicated group of food bankers accelerates my drive and our collective ability to fight hunger and food waste. We learn from each other, we inspire each other … it’s really a movement.