India houses a quarter of a million of the world’s hungry population pegged at 230 million. It also faces severe challenges of child malnutrition with WHO estimates indicating that 2.5 million children below the age of 5 die every year in India due to malnutrition. The child nutrition is even worse than many sub-Saharan countries. The Adviser to the PM is working with various stakeholders towards creating an India Food Banking Network to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition in India and augment and support on going initiatives in this space.
WHAT IS A FOOD BANK?
A food bank creates a system that provides relief in the face of immediate need as well as support and services that help reduce the need in the future. While they serve the critical purpose of feeding hungry people and providing nutrition in the short term, food banks also become essential community assets that help break the cycle of poverty over time. Food banking is a system that moves food from surplus to the people who need it and engages all stakeholders. The food banking system feeds millions of people each year across the globe and has become a vehicle for building public awareness about hunger, malnutrition, its impact and possible solutions. Currently, there are over 1000 Food Banks across 30 countries feeding an estimated 40 million plus annually in the US alone.
HOW A FOOD BANK WORKS?
A food bank is a non profit flexible distribution model that serves the community. It acquires donated/ purchased or governments’ food and makes it available to the hungry through the network of institutional feeding programs. These programs include school feeding programs, charitable hospitals, orphanages, the destitute, beggars, homeless etc.
WHY IT WORKS?
Food banking is an effective approach to alleviating the food crisis because it is:
Universally supported – Universal acceptance, recognition and respect for the idea that no one should go hungry.
Practical and efficient – Food bank appeals to the heart and the head; it feeds people through an established system.
Scalable – Food bank can start at the community level and expand and network to feed a state and the nation.
Adaptable – Food bank can operate in different ways to suit different state or regional cultures and economies.
Non-competitive – Food bank complements the government, social and commercial channels of food distribution. It is an effective, outlet for businesses, a credible distribution vehicle for governments and owned by the local communities.
DELHI FOOD BANK
Effort is currently underway to start with a pilot Food Bank in Delhi and NCR with support from the Government of Delhi. The mission of Delhi and NCR Food Bank would be to alleviate hunger and provide nutritional food to the needy through soliciting, collecting, sorting and creating a distribution network of feeding programmes by;
Augmenting on-going Government initiatives and other feeding programs run by nonprofits.
Establishing a donation network of private sector such as retailers, wholesalers, traders, processors, food manufacturers.
Targeting to provide sustained access to nutritional food to a large number of beneficiaries through institutional feeding programs.
Effectively distributing food to families that are identified by institutional feeding programs.