As innovative community leaders start food banks to ensure all their neighbors can access food, we’re there to lend our expertise on what we’ve learned through our years of experience. When recently established food banks are ready to take the next step and scale and expand their efforts, we’re there to help them think through building infrastructure, connections, and personnel in a way that best suits their needs.
GFN is committed to supporting the expansion of the food bank model in places where there are high instances of food insecurity, insufficient social protections, and few existing food banks—like parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia.
Since GFN’s founding, we’ve supported the strategic development of new food banks. But the COVID-19 pandemic exponentially increased the number of requests we received from community leaders who wanted to use the food banking model to address hunger at home. In response, we started a dedicated New Food Bank Development Program (NFBD) in 2021.
Our program walks local leaders and social entrepreneurs through all the steps necessary to launch a food bank, from assessing community needs, to determining resource availability, planning, building capital, and beyond. NFBD caters all of its services to the context and input of each food bank, ensuring support that is relevant and responsive to unique organizational visions. And GFN accepts a limited number of participants into this program to ensure that our team can provide thorough and robust support.
Once new food banks are established and operating, our Food Bank Incubator program provides the next steps and resources to accelerate development. In 2019, we launched the Food Bank Incubator program to help newly established food banks serve more people, more efficiently. Since program participants are typically located in places where the food banking model is fairly new and unknown, the services we offer are especially valuable and help food banks establish credibility.
These services include:
The Incubator program helps start-up programs consider all the elements necessary to establish and sustain a food bank, including safe food handling requirements, infrastructure needs, community partners, and other areas.
When the COVID-19 pandemic triggered panic buying and supply chain disruptions, Food Banking Kenya (FBK) had to rethink the way it distributed food. FBK staff members attended GFN’s Incubator sessions and learned about FoodForward South Africa’s agricultural recovery program, which recovers surplus produce directly from farmers, ensuring that wholesome, nutritious food does not go to waste. Later, representatives from FBK actually visited FoodForward South Africa’s program during a training event convened by GFN.
Inspired, FBK took the lessons they learned from their peers and greatly expanded their own agricultural recovery efforts, enabling the food bank to recover more than 296,000 kilograms of food from farmers and serve 174,000 people, a significant increase over the 26,000 people served in 2019.