Large number of food aid dispensing points to open in Czechia next year

Currently about 15 foodbanks exist in Czechia; dispensing points could grow to 150 starting early next year. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.09.2022 10:19:00 (updated on 15.09.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Food aid banks could start operating on a larger scale in the Czech Republic next year. Those in need would be able to regularly receive packages from food banks in 150 locations throughout the country, the Czech News Agency reports.

Director of the Czech Federation of Food Banks (ČFPB), Veronika Láchová, presented the organization's project to the Social Committee of the House of Representatives Wednesday. 

Currently, there are just 15 food banks in the Czech Republic where people in need can get food, drugstore, and hygiene items. The banks also cooperate with a new Prague clothing bank, which had its opening Wednesday.

"We are preparing a dispensary project with the Ministry of Labor that would strengthen the distribution network," said Láchová who adds that with regular distribution points, help would be more accessible, and would relieve the burden on social workers or organizations that do not have enough space or the right conditions for storage. 

The goal is for at least four-fifths of the planned 150 dispensaries to start operating in the first of the year. All locations could then issue up to 180,000 packages to those in need.

According to the ČFPB the number of people in need of food and other assistance is on the rise. In May, the federation predicted that food banks would supply about 260,000 people by the end of this year. Current estimates show that the number could increase to 350,000 by the end of the year.

Food banks currently operate in several Czech regions with support from grants. Initial plans for the nationwide project were supposed to start in 2024 but due to the increased demand for help, will begin sooner. 

"We believe that it will be possible to speed up all the administration so that the start-up can take place not from 2024, but during the next year," said Martina Štěpánková, deputy of the Ministry of Labor for European funds. The three-year pilot project should cost an estimated CZK 65 million.

Láchová said that in the first half of this year, both the food banks' supplies and donors dwindled. The ministry provided subsidies to create emergency stocks. The autumn nationwide food collection should also help replenish the warehouses but Láchová said that due to the current widespread economic woes the organization doesn't expect a record amount of food.

Record inflation as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has driven up food prices in the Czech Republic with day-to-day costs rising significantly. Data from the Czech Statistical Office shows that consumer prices increased by 17.2 percent in August with increases in daily staple items such as milk, cheese, eggs, and sugar seeing year-on-year increases.

Food collections are typically held in the Czech Republic twice a year. Follow the Czech Federation of Food Banks to donate or sign up for help. You can also find a map of food banks on their website.

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