Over 951,000 Meals and 81,000 Glasses of Milk Provided to Alleviate Food Insecurity in Greece Since 2021.
Food Bank Greece’s recent report highlights the ongoing food insecurity crisis in Greece, despite significant recovery from the economic crisis of 2009-2018. Many individuals and families still struggle to meet their nutritional needs, depending on soup kitchens and charities to survive. Food purchased thanks to funding from The Hellenic Initiative is a crucial component of the food aid they provide. THI, with the generous support of Andreas and Shirley Kramvis Foundation, has donated $230,000 to Food Bank Greece since 2021 and funded the entire 2022 Emergency Food Fund program. THI’s aid over the years has been translated to more than 951,000 meals and 81,000 glasses of milk
Founded in 2012, THI is a global non-profit organization that brings together Diaspora Greeks and Philhellenes to invest in Greece today through programs focused on economic development and crisis relief. Since its founding, THI has invested more than $21 million in Greece and is the largest Greek Diaspora organization in the world.
Food Bank Greece has been at the forefront of fighting the twin scourges of food waste and food scarcity in Greece since 1995. A member of FEBA, the European Food Banks Federation, and operating according to it protocols, Food Bank Greece collects surplus food from food industries, supermarket chains, agricultural cooperatives, government agencies, and citizens. The food is donated to charities that distribute it to households and soup kitchens. In its 2023 Annual Report, Food Bank Greece notes that for most people in Greece and the media, soup kitchens and similar institutions remain invisible, “every day, we come into contact with the needs of those who depend on us.” The report reveals that 1 in 10 Greeks face food insecurity, rising to 18% of Greeks over 65 living alone. “61% of the soup kitchens report that the people they assist are unable to afford at least one meal per week” and “30% of food banks receive daily requests they cannot fulfill… 43% of people relying on soup kitchens cannot cover 3 or more meals per week.” Food Bank Greece works with 15 old age homes, 231 soup kitchens, and 19 foundations for children – 324 institutions overall, thanks to assistance by institutions like THI.
General Manager Dimitris Nentas notes that THI provides funds to purchase foodstuffs. While Food Bank Greece has developed an impressively efficient and effective means of gathering surplus food donations, it is necessary for the NGO to also buy food. Food Banks receive food that cannot be sold before their expiration date and distribute it while it is still fresh and healthy – but needy households also require foodstuffs with long shelf lives which are not donated because the market is able to eventually absorb all of them. Nentas noted, “THI helps us plug this gap, enabling us to purchase exactly the food we need at the time we need it the most, identified through the network of charities we support” based on surveys of people in the neighborhoods where they operate.”
George P. Stamas, THI’s Board President, stated, “Eliminating food waste while tackling food scarcity is not just a noble mission, but a remarkable achievement for Food Bank Greece”.
Maria Allwin, THI Board Member, stated, “The Food Bank stands as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges post the Greek economic crisis. Fortunately, THI collaborates with responsive groups, like the Greek Food Bank, ensuring immediate aid to those who require it the most.”