New times for Food Banks Holland – Basecone

In 2002, the first food bank was founded in the Netherlands by Sjaak and Clara Sies. Dutch politicians replied: ‘In four years, the Food Bank will no longer exist’. Nothing is less true. For today, there are 170 food banks nationwide, which are affiliated with the Holland Food Banks Foundation. Times change, but the focus – an eye for food, a heart for people – has always been the same, says Dirk Rijnbeek, board member for customers and volunteers at Food Banks Netherlands.

“When I worked at KLM, I spent a lot of time in Africa. People who did not ask the question: what are we eating tonight? But: shall we have dinner tonight? Because of my background in logistics, I started working as chairman of the distribution center Haaglanden. ” Dirk Rijnbeek has now worked at Food Banks Holland for over eight years. “Today, I take care of customers’ interests at the macro and micro level. We look at governance, community development and Nibud’s budgets. We base our criteria on that. We always look at what people need, never the other way around. ”

Help without judging

“I think this is something that customers really appreciate: We do not judge. We ask our customers for one thing, namely: try to get out of financial problems. But we do not ask how you got into it. “Yet it has been clear for years that the move to the Food Bank for many people is a very big step.

“More than 80,000 people are eligible, but do not use us”

Dirk Rijnbeek: “People are very ashamed. That’s why we started Project Under the Radar. More than 80,000 people in the Netherlands are eligible for the Food Bank, but do not use it. This is due to several reasons. For example, some are helped by friends or family or by other bodies, such as the church. In addition, many people do not know about our existence. And still some have difficulty getting in touch with us, for example due to low literacy. ”

More people need help for longer

“In addition, more and more people are experiencing financial problems for a long time. At Fødevarebanken, we actually help people for a maximum of three years. Today you see that this is no longer possible. The elderly have no chance of a new income, while groceries become more expensive. In short: these older people almost never get out of trouble. We also see that people with debt are having a hard time. In the Netherlands, we have an excellent safety net for people on welfare. But as soon as debt comes to this, it becomes much harder. ” Fortunately, Dirk sees that the Dutch government is not closing its eyes to this. More and more attention is being paid to people in such situations.

“Customers get a nice chat and our volunteers get energy from this”

In addition to Project Under the Radar, there is a focus on the supply of food. Because many large food suppliers and supermarkets are increasingly focusing on fighting food waste, there is less food left for many food banks. Dirk: “And that while the demand for help increases. That is why we make national agreements with boards such as Albert Heijn and Jumbo. Alternatives are being created locally. For example, people grow their own fruits or vegetables and transfer what they have to our distribution centers. ”

New TIME for the Food Bank

But this is not the only initiative. The food bank changes over time. Therefore, the focus is increasingly on the customer. A good example of this is the new election concept. “We let customers choose what kind of food they get. With this initiative, we do not give a box every week, but people can choose some of the products in our ‘stores’. Much more human and personal. Our locations are then transformed from collection point to supermarket. We really see a future in this. A number of Food Banks even follow the time so much that customers order the products online in the webshop and pick them up in the store the next day, ”says Dirk.

“Customers choose the products in our store or order via the webshop”

Because people choose for themselves, the Food Bank prevents waste. One person really likes red pepper and another does not. Instead of ending up in the trash, it gets picked up by people who really enjoy it. They can also get fresh goods home to people more quickly, which benefits durability. Dirk: “For our volunteers, this way of working requires a little getting used to. They get more in touch with the customer. In the end, we see that it has an added value for both parties: The customers get a nice chat faster, and the volunteers get more energy from it! ”

“In 10 years, I hope there will no longer be a need for a food bank”

Fødevarebanken in 10 years

“I think certain groups in society continue to fall between two chairs. How much I want, it may be an illusion to think that the Food Bank is no longer needed in ten years; but one can always dream! At any rate, I hope that in ten years’ time we will still be known as the open and accessible organization we are today. Everyone should be able to go in and get help. Without having a conversation after a month about whether you are qualified or not. In addition, I hope for even more healthy and fresh food and that our election concept becomes a national success. This would not be possible without all our volunteers. We run 100% on volunteers, we want to continue that. No matter how difficult it gets. ”

Food Banks Holland & Basecone

New times call for new ways of working: and so do the accounts. Therefore, Fødevarebanken has started digital invoice processing via Basecone and Bookkeeping Convenience. It saves them a lot of time because invoices are posted automatically. In addition, they are satisfied with the ease of use of the software. Volunteers spend the time earned on the development of the new ERA.

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