Food bank executives: ‘We hear that people can no longer make ends meet’ | Woerden

According to the food banks in the Utrecht region, more and more people are having problems paying for their groceries. “Last year’s record number of people has already been far exceeded this year,” says a board member of Woerdense Food Bank.

What we hear from newcomers who call us, says Elias Bom, board member of Woerdense Food Bank, is that they have difficulty making ends meet. “The high energy prices and the increased prices in the supermarket are the reason for this.”

This means that many registered with the food bank this summer. Normally, Bom notes, there is always a dip in the number of people coming to pick up a package during the summer months. The seasonal dip has turned into a summer peak for the first time this year.

Currently, around 460 people from Woerden use the food bank’s services. Last year there were at least a hundred fewer. “And last year was already a record year in terms of the number of registrations. We have never helped so many people as this year,” says Bom.


We’re trying not to get a headache, but we’re considering a doomsday scenario

Jan Zwarts, Coordinator food bank Utrecht

Bom is not afraid of having to sell ‘no’ to people who come by for a package. “It certainly won’t happen to us. For now, we have enough fresh produce because it’s harvest time. The question remains, how it goes in the winter months. We are preparing for this and ensuring that stocks of canned food and other foodstuffs are maintained.”


The situation in many other food banks in the province is similar to Woerden. Figures from the food bank in Utrecht show that twelve percent more packages were collected here in the past month. “It is excellent and cuts into it,” says coordinator Jan Zwarts. In particular, he sees an increase in single elderly people who had to change energy contracts and old participants who left and are now applying again.

“We’re not trying to get a headache, but we’re taking into account a doomsday scenario”, says Zwarts. “Because there are not only more uses, there are also fewer foods. Supermarkets are getting more and more inventive in still selling items that can only be kept that day. Bread e.g. Normally we would get it, now not or less.”

Therefore, they organize collections themselves, but it also comes in less than before. “You notice that it has also become more expensive for the generous giver, so they donate less.” Where the food bank normally tries to prevent food waste, it now even buys things itself.


In any case, we have enough stock to handle any increase in the number of inquiries

Spokesman for the food bank De Ronde Venen

waiting lists

If things go completely wrong towards winter, Zwarts thinks of waiting lists. “But it is very much against our will.” Otherwise, they must either become ‘very inventive’ or give the current stock fewer products. “Those are the concerns we have right now.”

The umbrella organization Food Banks Netherlands says that the number of people coming to pick up a package has increased by around ten percent in recent months. This increase is expected to continue. The organization says that around a hundred thousand people use the food bank every week.

The food bank De Ronde Venen helps about ninety people. That number has been fairly stable so far this year. But of course we don’t know how things will go this winter. In any case, we have sufficient stock to be able to handle a possible increase in the number of inquiries,’ says a spokesman for this food bank.

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