At least 50,000 people are expected to receive food aid during the three-year project. Credit: Freepik.

Food Banks Launch Food Aid Distribution Project in Czech Republic

Food banks in the Czech Republic are launching a project of 150 new food aid distribution points, in order to expand the help provided by non-profit organisations, said Ales Slavicek, chair of the Czech Federation of Food Banks, speaking at a press conference in Ricany today.

Static or mobile food distribution points will regularly provide food aid where it is currently not available. The three-year project, which will cost CZK 69 million, is funded by the European Union.

“We have 15 food banks across the country, and each of them will provide ten distribution points in its region,” Slavicek said.

At least 50,000 people are expected to receive food aid. The project will be evaluated after three years, Slavicek said, adding that he hoped to secure funding to continue it.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurecka (KDU-CSL) said he believed that the EU-financed project would prove successful. “Our ambition is to be able to maintain it in the future,” he added.

Most of the costs go towards fuel and new staff, Slavicek noted.

So far, food aid has been provided through 1,400 non-profit organisations, distributed from food bank warehouses. However, there is a rising number of requests for food aid from people and authorities in areas outside of the existing distribution network, Slavicek pointed out. He said access to aid was the worst in the Moravian-Silesian and Usti Regions.

For this reason, the German model of aid being issued directly by food banks has been under trial since July, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. In the first two weeks, 41 towns were involved in the project and 2,900 people received aid in this way. Distribution through NGOs will continue, however.

Last year, food banks distributed 11,000 tonnes of food, worth about CZK 700 million, according to Jurecka.

Food banks cooperate with retail chains, producers and growers, distributing unsellable foodstuffs to those in need. The aid is mainly aimed at the elderly, families in need, single parents, foster families, the disabled, and the homeless. Municipal social workers and NGOs decide who is eligible for food aid.

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