To reduce hunger and malnutrition through the fight against food waste and the support and development of food banks in countries where they are most needed.
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How does a food bank work?
The first food bank, the St. Mary's Food Bank, was founded by John Van Hengel in Phoenix , Arizona (USA) in 1967. John Van Hengel grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Arizona in 1965 where he became a volunteer at a soup kitchen. The refectory had an annual budget of only $ 8,000 and this induced John Van Hengel to seek out sources for free products. In the beginning he recovered vegetables left in the fields and fruit remaining on the trees. However, he obtained more products that the need of the soup kitchen where he worked. So he delivered the remaining products to other relief organizations, making it possibile for them to offer additional meals. After a while, the need to give structure to this operation led to the creation of the first food bank. An old bakery was used as a warehouse. Van Hengel and his colleagues soon began to recover surplus food from many supermarkets,which sometimes sent their vans directly to the warehouse.
The news about this new kind of bank went viral and following the example of the St. Mary's Food Bank more food banks were established: in the USA and a few years later also in Canada, as a sort of positive contamination.
In 1984 in France Sister Cécile Bigot heard about the concept through Francis Lopez, founder of the Edmonton Food Bank in Canada. In order to cope with rising poverty in Paris, she contacted Bernard Dandrel at the Secours Catholique who cooperated with other charities like Emmaüs and the Salvation Army to launch the food bank of Paris-Ile de France in July 1984. In Belgium André Hubert soon followed this example and established the first Food Bank in Brussels.
Then Bernard Dandrel and André Hubert realized the need for a single and organized body that would represent food banks at a European level. The Fédération Européenne des Banques Alimentaires - European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) was launched on 23 September 1986.
Between 1988 and 1992 FEBA supported the development of food banks in Spain, Italy, Ireland followed by Portugal, Poland, Greece and Luxembourg from 1994 to 2001. Since 2004, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Serbia have joined the network, followed by the Netherlands, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark and more recently by Ukraine and Bulgaria in 2013, Norway (2014) and Austria (2015).
In 2016 FEBA celebrated its 30th anniversary.
In 2018 FEBA is going through several changes. After 32 years the Board of Directors and the General Assembly decided to move the organization from Bourg-la-Reine (Paris) to Brussels in order to be closer to European institutions and other European stakeholders and NGOs and professionally support the growth and development of its members. In February 2018 the European Food Banks Federation asbl (FEBA), a non-profit organization under Belgian law, was constituted in Brussels as a continuation of the organization under French law and it pursues the same purpose.Moreover, after a partnership started in 2014, Tafel Deutschaland e.V. in Germany became a member in March 2018.
Finally, in July 2018, the membership in Ireland moved from Crosscare to FoodCloud Hubs and following the creation of a national federation, in Norway the Matsentralen Oslo passed the torch of membership to Matsentalen Norge.