Join the fight against hunger by donating food at Czech stores this weekend

Food banks are running low as the number of people depending on them increases; some 1,500 stores will participate in the spring food drive. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 20.04.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 21.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Food banks have been running low, and people have a chance to help replenish them. The next drive to collect food takes place on April 22, and people can donate food at 1,540 stores throughout Czechia.

Donations can also be made until May 2 via the online stores, Koší and Rohlí Help is mainly aimed at seniors, families in crisis, single parents, foster families, disabled citizens, or homeless people.

Collections in Czechia since 2013 have taken in over 4,200 tons of food and 545 tons of healthcare items. This corresponds to approximately 8.4 million portions of food, which are distributed to the needy with the help of non-profit organizations.

"In 10 years, we have managed to create a very effective system that ensures the supply of food and basic health items for a wide group of people in need, whose number is increasing year by year," Aleš Slavíček, the chairman of the Czech Federation of Food Banks, said in a press release.

More people need help

Food banks supported 300,000 people last year, according to the federation. The need for help increased by 30 percent year-on-year. People who previously did not need any form of social assistance are now using the help of food banks, and the current economic situation has also affected the middle class, Slavíček said.

Tomáš Prouza, president of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (SOCR ČR), said that last year, food banks cooperated with retail chains to help refugees from Ukraine. "All the refugees were given a meal at the Congress Center in Prague. Fresh food was delivered every day," he said.

He added that the role of retail chains in providing food for people in need is truly irreplaceable.

"In addition to ongoing food donations and annual food drives, the chains help fund the operation of food banks. This direct aid to the functioning of food banks currently reached CZK 198 million and included, for example, the provision of warehouse space for the logistics center's needs for free use, financial donations for building new infrastructure, or the purchase of cars for regular pickups from stores," Prouza said.

Since 2018, the law has required stores over 400 square meters to give unsalable food to non-profit organizations. Most of the food that reaches the banks would otherwise be disposed of. Collections from chains go to the banks every day, the food collection focuses mainly on non-perishable foods such as canned goods or pasta.

Donation system expanding to furniture and clothing

Slavíček said that there are up to a million people in Czechia who need help. According to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), last year the income poverty rate was 10.2 percent, which corresponds to roughly one million people. In 2021, it was 8.6 percent. A person is at risk of income poverty if they do not have even 60 percent of the median net income. Last year, that was CZK 15,571 per person.

The experience with the food donation system is currently also being used to help expand donations in the furniture and clothing sector. Věra Kovářová, first deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, said she appreciates people’s efforts, and that more improvements in the legal framework for donations are being examined.

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