With its origins in Phoenix, Arizona, the food bank concept is as simple as it is effective: surplus food, instead of being thrown away, is brought to where it is needed most. To this end, food banks collect leftover food from bakeries, supermarkets, food wholesalers, as well as hotels and restaurants. This is then given free of charge or for a minimal share of the costs to both the needy and to charitable organisations. The food banks thus set the table for those in our society for whom usually even fresh fruit and vegetables are a luxury.
The success of this simple idea didn’t take long to spread to Germany. Germany’s first food bank was established in Berlin in 1993, and since then this effective neighbourhood assistance programme has become an integral part of many German cities. There are now around 750 food banks all over Germany with approximately 32,000 volunteers. Each day around 275 tonnes of food are collected and redistributed – feeding around half a million people. A considerable logistical exercise, to which Mercedes-Benz’s Social Sponsorship Project contributes.
For further information on the food banks in Germany, go to www.tafel.de.