The concept of food banking was born in Phoenix (United States) in 1967. A man in the name of John Van Hengel saw a widow and mother of ten children, looking for food in the trashcans behind grocery stores. He helped her to find edible food and then convinced the stores to give him products instead of throwing them away. Thus, the first « food bank » was born.
In France, Sister Cécile Bigot heard about the concept on March 13, 1984, through Francis Lopez, founder of Edmonton's Food Bank in Canada. In order to cope with rising poverty in Paris, she contacted Bernard Dandrel at the Secours Catholique and with the help of other charities such as Emmaüs and the Salvation Army, B. Dandrel launched the Food Bank of Paris-Ile de France in July 1984.
Next, André Hubert decided to create a Food Bank in Brussels. The requirement to speak with one voice to European institutions and multinationals became necessary, and The European Federation of Food Banks was launched on September 23, 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 in 2010 and 2011 by the Netherlands, Switzerland, Estonia and Denmark, in 2013 by Bulgaria and Ukraine and by Norway in 2014. In addition, Food Banks projects are accompanied in Albania, FYROM-Macedonia, Malta and Slovenia.
In 2016, FEBA celebrates the 30th anniversary of its creation.