Food needs in the general population
Survey on the needs of soup kitchens supported by the Athens Food Bank
Food Bank’s main job is to redistribute food to meet food needs, while also reducing food waste, which is high in Greece. Food which is fit for consumption but cannot be absorbed by the market, along with food purchased specifically to be donated, is offered free of charge to soup kitchens and charities.
We communicate daily with soup kitchens to learn about their needs; they tell us about the difficulties being faced by people they help. We strive to learn more about the problems which exist, so we can be more effective in our mission. This document presents the results of a survey carried out in the summer of 2023. We also set out official Eurostat statistics relating to last year and previous years.
There can be no doubt that thousands of people are turning to soup kitchens and other charities because they are in need. The situation has improved compared to previous years.
However, there is still a large number of people in this category. As in other European countries, we have developed a network of 7 food banks at key locations nationwide. In this way we can know and better serve local needs by managing product donations from the various regions of the country.
By way of indication, in 2022 we managed to distribute 2,172 tons of products to more than 110,000 people throughout Greece, with the support of 182 companies and in cooperation with 324 soup kitchens and other charities. As far as the problems are concerned, our capabilities are limited but the results of our efforts are, I believe, significant.
Food Bank is an independent, self-governing public benefit foundation which was established in 1995 and has operated since then without ever receiving any state or EU financing. It is an equal member of the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) which supports us in our endeavours, and we would like to thank it for that. We would like to wholeheartedly thank all charitable foundations, companies and individuals who support us in our operations, and all food companies (producers, retail chains and merchants) who place their trust in us.
The soup kitchens ecosystem has been operating quietly in the background for years. From time to time, some articles are written highlighting the effort being made but in general it remains unseen, especially by the State. In many cases, it is able to better identify people in need and is more flexible in helping them. We hope that this study will give rise to more synergies because unfortunately there are still numerous needs to be met.
According to Eurostat
1 in 10 people in Greece faces food insecurity in 2022
1 in 3 people
living below the poverty line cannot feed themselves properly
Food Bank's Survey
People who turn to soup kitchens have particularly low incomes (for various reasons) while the difficult family situations they face increasingly put pressure on their family income and lead to a situation of food insecurity.
Food Bank accepts food donations from companies whose products it then offers free of charge to soup kitchens and charities. While these products are suitable for consumption, they cannot be absorbed by the market. The most likely scenario is that they would otherwise be disposed of and end up degrading the environment. These foods are referred to in this document as “surplus food”.
Food Bank's Contribution
By managing Surplus Food
Examples of Beneficiaries
Families sharing the same roof.
The couple are 65 and 62 years old respectively. They live with their youngest son’s family, their two grandchildren as well as the 82-year-old grandmother. Of the entire family, only the son works; they also have the grandmother’s pension, but she has many health problems. The entire family faces major difficulties in getting by.
A low-earning family with 3 girls.
Both parents work part-time and receive a very low salary. They live at the grandmother’s house since they cannot afford to rent. They primarily receive food aid but also need school supplies and clothes for the children.
An elderly widow.
She lives at home but her living conditions are poor. She does not receive a pension and tries to get by on an allowance of € 200. She faces normal age-related health problems and has no help from her children who live far away. During the winter months she cannot meet her heating needs using any means. She visits the soup kitchen daily for hot meals and is also supplied with non-perishable goods by the soup kitchen.
A large family with 4 children.
A married couple living in a home purchased with a mortgage. Both are on low salaries. They have four children, two of whom are on military service in the provinces. The two girls are students in Athens. Recently one of the children underwent surgery to fix an issue with their spine. Each month they receive assistance in the form of basic foodstuffs and occasionally clothing.