Caroline was asked to work as General Coordinator four years ago. Only for a short period, but a return to her old life as an independent entrepreneur has not happened. Caroline says: “Not bad at all, I really enjoy what I do. If you’ve always been on the good side of society, it’s nice to be able to give something back.”
The work of food banks
The food banks were founded with two purposes, namely to supply food to people on a small budget and to prevent food waste.
The organization only works with volunteers. There are 13,000 in total, distributed among 172 local food banks. Caroline says: “The money we get from the community doesn’t go to salaries, but to the people who need it. That makes us really special. Everything we do, we can do thanks to donations and the efforts of our volunteers And we still need people, so if you’re looking for a fun and meaningful volunteer job: take a look at Food banks!”
In 2021, we donated an additional contribution of €500,000 to Food Banks Netherlands for their disaster fund. Caroline: “The extra contribution was a saving grace for us. During the corona crisis, we had to organize our business operations differently from one day to the next. There was no shortage of food because the catering industry closed and the companies were left with their stocks. But there had to be fixed in a short time.
“For example, our business process was set up to distribute packages on Friday. On Thursday, more than 100 volunteers were at work in the distribution center in Arnhem. Because of the measures, the process had to be adjusted. For example, the conveyor belt had to be extended so that the volunteers could be longer apart. We also set up our distribution center as a distribution center because distribution points such as churches and libraries suddenly closed. The additional contribution from the Postcode Lottery has been important in making necessary changes and investments.”
After the corona crisis
The demand for help has changed since the corona crisis. Caroline explains: “The expectation was that the number of customers would increase sharply during the corona crisis, but the government’s measures have worked well. After that crisis, everyone thought it was the order of the day, but then the terrible war in Ukraine was everything. the consequences. The situation is now so different: People can no longer make ends meet and report to us because the cost of living has become much higher. Nationally, we are seeing a 20-30% increase in customers this year. Thanks to donations and volunteers. Fortunately, we can still help everyone , but the pressure on the organization is increasing and volunteers are unfortunately hard to find.”
December is a busy month for the Food Banks. Caroline says that they also get a lot of help during this period: “What we see is that organizations and individuals donate their Christmas packages to us. We are very happy about that! A Christmas package is put together for all customers of the Food Banks in the Netherlands. And we’re seeing more beautiful things, there’s a restaurant hosting a dinner for some of our customers on Boxing Day. We’re also receiving a lot of energy donations from people who don’t need the energy supplement.”
Many local initiatives are also set up in December, says Caroline: “On 9 and 10 December, food will be collected with a supermarket campaign in Lingewaard. Customers can buy products for the Food Bank. The man who organizes this for us has something similar. for us earlier this year. Ukraine. We contributed to that aid to Ukraine by offering our logistical support. This man has now called 350 volunteers to do something for us. Isn’t it great when someone does something to help another one? That makes me happy!”