The Polish Food Banks Federation and its 32 local branches have been involved in the humanitarian aid provided to refugees fleering from the war in Ukraine sparked by the Russian invasion. In the report ‘Support Ukraine’, published on 14 March 2022, they summarise the activities conducted to assist the over 1.43 million displaced people that so far crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border, desperate for peace and security.
At national level, the Federation 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, e.g. by the SOS Food Bank in Warsaw, which led to the gathering of 5 tonnes of food products. In Tri-City, over 50 entities, such as restaurants, hotels, schools, or companies, donated food items. 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. Due to the high number of collaborators involved, each measure of support must undergo detailed planning to avoid uncoordinated effort becoming a burden.
The most significant challenge faced is to provide food, clothes, and hygiene products to enable decent living conditions. Along with the increase in the number of refugees in Poland, the demand for food will grow – mainly for long-term household cooking products (cereals, pasta, flour, etc.). Thanks to the commitment and professionality of numerous co-workers and volunteers carrying out support activities, many people in need have so far been supported but an increasing influx of refugees translates to new hurdles that need to be surmounted on a daily basis. Therefore, any kind of assistance is welcome and required to continue and step up the efforts in place.
To learn more about the actions taken by the Polish Food Banks to help the people of Ukraine, read this report.