On 5 April 2022, a DHL Express cargo aircraft took off from Milan Malpensa Airport with destination Bucharest Henri Coandă Airport, transporting 17 tonnes of food collected on voluntary basis by employees of SEA, the group that operates Milan airports, for Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
At the airport in Bucharest, the food was transferred to 3 lorries under the supervision of SEA volunteers and Banca pentru Alimente București to then deliver the goods to shelters where 240 Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war are housed.
The food was collected with the operational support and coordination of the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA).
As the van travels along the highway towards Warsaw airport, the sky and the valleys transport me back to the Moldovan hills and meadows, which we left just two days ago. While this leg of our intense journey is coming to an end, behind us there are so many other journeys that are only getting started.
Today is Tuesday, 12th of April, one week since I left Milano Malpensa as FEBA volunteer, headed for Bucharest. The “departure” was something special: the employees of Milan Linate and Malpensa airports, managed by SEA, had collected 16.5 tonnes of food, with 4.5 additional tonnes of Tuna donated by Bolton Group and 200 kg of honey from 3bee. DHL Express made available one of their cargo planes to deliver those donations to Banca pentru Alimente, FEBA Food Bank member in Romania. I was there to witness and tell this heartening story, together with Angela and Marco from FEBA.
It was the first time I flight in the cockpit, which is truly an amazing experience.
Kyiv City Charity Foundation “Food Bank” (KCCF) continues to operate on the ground in Kiev, Vinitsa, Lviv, Ternopil, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernovtsy.
KCCF implemented a technical possibility to donate via the website of the Food Bank and already collected 450 USD.
In total, since the start of the war, KCCF redistributed 830 tons of humanitarian aid.
240 tons came from abroad, among which 180 tons were redistributed. The remaining 60 tons are kept at the warehouses of Kyiv and Lviv as a stock reserve in case it would be needed. During the past week, about 62 tons were received from Portugal, Romania and Poland.
The remaining 650 tons of food and non-food products were donated by stores and local producers.
Logistic, ways to access the most suffering areas remain the main challenge for us. Shortage of the most needed products is also becoming a real issue.
From the very first days of the crisis in Ukraine, Banca de Alimente in Moldova offered its support to ensure the logistical support to food deliveries. In the initial phase everybody wants to help, but the lack of a mechanism to manage food donations can generate food waste rather than helping those in need.
Banca de Alimente is on the front line working in cooperation with two platforms: the first one is the one of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Moldova, the second one is the platform of the Municipality of Chisinau.
About 150,000 refugees arrived in Moldova. Now they need food to come from outside Moldova because it is more and more difficult to get it internally. At the same time, they need money for logistics.
The Food Bank already managed to bring food to Ukraine to Caritas Odessa. The products are for families, children and the elderly affected by the war. On 24 March 3 pallets of food were sent by Food Bank Greece to the Food Bank in Romania who then passed the food to Banca de Alimente Chisinau, Moldova. And on 26 March, the Romanian Federation of Food Banks brought 12 vans and cars with 12.679 kg basic necessities, baby and adult food, clothing and hygiene products. The food will help Ukrainian refugees arriving in Moldova.
At national level, the Federation of Polish Food Banks organised range of activities, comprising fundraising, food collections, recovery of food donated by companies, as well as redistribution of food to charities in Poland and abroad. To date, 182 tonnes of food stemming, among others, from large retail chains and companies, have been transferred to local Food Banks in Poland and Ukrainian cities, such as Kiev, Kharkiv, Hrubieszow, Lviv, Lutsk, and Nowołyńska.
Across Poland, several initiatives have been started, comprising the setup of collection points in public spaces.
Besides recovering and redistributing food, Food Banks further support the establishment of night shelters, maintain close contact with public administration officers, and are part of crisis teams. The most significant challenge faced is to provide food, clothes, and hygiene products to enable decent living conditions.
The Food Banks in Romania are still very active to help the refugees fleeing from Ukraine as well as the Ukrainian Food Bank.
Until now, approximately 112 tons of food were collected at national level, from which more than 80 tons were sent to the Ukrainian Food Bank and other partners, while more than 30 tons were used to support the partner 75 NGOs from Romania that take care of over 5,000 refugees coming from Ukraine.
In order to keep fulfilling their mission, the Food Banks are running a campaign with the main partners from the retail industry: 110 Lidl stores, 50 Kaufland stores, 40 Auchan stores and 12 Selgros stores.
Thanks to the support of Lidl Romania and other local companies (Caroli Foods, Danone etc), the Food Banks were able to send 3 trucks with food and non-food products as well as several vans in Ukraine, either at the Ukrainian Food Bank or at the Caritas Cernauti Association.
The wave of solidarity coming from the FEBA members in Europe is also very important. The Greek Food Bank sent 2 trucks of food and hygiene products (read more about it here). On 25 March, the Food Bank in Romania received again 3 pallets of food from Food Bank Greece and then passed the food to Banca de Alimente Chisinau in Moldova, to help Ukrainian refugees. France also sent 3 trucks to the Food Banks in Oradea, Roman and Bucharest at the beginning of April.
Potravinová Banka Slovenska, our Food Bank member in Slovakia is currently focusing all the efforts and assistance on supporting charities that provide meals at border crossings, in refugee centres and at the railway station in Košice.
The Food Bank also supplies food to accommodation facilities, where people accommodate and take care of refugees at their own expenses.
From 14 March, two central “hotspots” will be created for refugees. Potravinová Banka Slovenska also plans on supporting these places with food.
The Food Bank is currently trying to secure food directly to the warehouse of the Ukrainian Food Bank, which is close to Lviv. Some Slovakian charities have already distributed food aid to their partner organizations in Ukraine.
The European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) is a European non-profit organisation and works in collaboration with 24 Full Members and 6 Associate Members in European countries.
Since 1986, FEBA mission has consisted in representing its membership at European and international level; supporting and strengthening Food Banks in Europe by providing training, sharing best practice and knowledge, and developing partnerships; and fostering the creation of new Food Banks.
FEBA brings together a network of over 300 Food Banks which are committed to fight against food waste and to reduce food insecurity. In 2020, our Full Members redistributed 860,000 tonnes of food to 48,126 charitable organisations providing food assistance to 12.8 million most deprived people thanks to the professionalism of 37,016 co-workers (85% volunteers).
In addition to surplus food from the food supply chain, FEBA Members also redistribute food from the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the Fruits and Vegetables withdrawal scheme, as well as from individual and corporate food collections.