Worldwide, about 795 million people are in constant hunger. According to Lebanese Food Bank, around 400.000 suffer from food insecurity in Lebanon. According to numbers estimated by the UNDP, around 20.6% of the population in Lebanon lives at the poverty line which translates into an income of about $4 per day. In addition, around 8% live below the lower poverty line which is estimated at an income of $2.4 per day.
HOME Magazine discussed with Kamal Y. Sinno, President and Cofounder of Lebanese Food Bank solutions for this catastrophe. Founded in Lebanon by businessmen in 2013, the Lebanese Food Bank aims to fight and eradicate hunger throughout Lebanon by developing several programs and making various connections in order to support the underprivileged and undernourished in the best ways they can. This is done through taking unserved excess food from parties, dinners, and catering companies, with food importers and Lebanese farms managing them and offering them untouched to underprivileged people within a sophisticated and well-run fast supply chain.
“Worldwide, about 795 million people are in constant hunger”
Once, when distributing sweets in Beirut, they met a little girl with her eyes following the team. “Do you want a portion?” they asked. And the little girl replies timidly “yes”. Her mother was so embarrassed to nod in acceptance that she hoped with the look in her eyes for her daughter to play this role.
LFB is part of the global food bank. Food banks are all around the world including America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Not only do they feed the people who cannot work, but they also help them find decent providing jobs so they can meet their most basic needs. “The food that is available in Lebanon, would suffice all if it is not wasted”, said Kamal Sinno. 1/4th of food is thrown and wasted. For this reason, Lebanese Food Bank is prepped with six refrigerated vans for delivery and more than 80 Lebanese NGOs. They provide food on a daily basis to about 3,000 individuals in need mainly through the collection of surplus food from partner restaurants, hotels, caterers, supermarkets, as well as fruit and vegetables exporters/importers. The Lebanese Food Bank also collaborates with several schools and universities all over Lebanon to raise awareness about food insecurity, fight hunger, and reduce food waste.
“The food that is available in Lebanon, would suffice all if it is not wasted”
In order to sustain this action, they rely on donations in-kind and on money from individuals and an increasing number of corporate partners. They also take food that is close to the expiry date, after which the LFB sends for distribution in one day. Speaking of which, the LFB once delivered 100 tons of potatoes throughout Greater Beirut all in three days. Moreover, Sinno stated that what to us is easily accessible could be an out-of- reach luxurious item for others. “When we get them cake and see them eat it, we see the thrill in their eyes and they start competing over the biggest share. In the end, our bodies need sugar too.”
Quality food donations should be given within 24 hours to the LFB taking in account that they don’t accept fish or anything creamy. The LFB also collaborates with Boecker to train staff in order to avoid food poisoning and follow food safety standards. LFB team is extremely aware in terms of health standards, fighting food bacteria and testing through checking liquidity levels. A volunteering psychologist also helps team members handle difficult situations they encounter during their visits to deprived households.
Oftentimes, these beneficiaries live in detrimental conditions and in below-average housing conditions with sometimes a complete absence of basic appliances, kitchen tools and beds. Black and white TVs seem to be the only luxurious item they still enjoy owning.
The Lebanese Food Bank is truly one of the crucial factors that lead us towards a more humanitarian world not only connected by personal interests and gains but also by unconditional giving and loving. The Lebanese Food Bank is really the golden spoon to many undernourished individuals in Lebanon. “I can’t ignore or pretend I don’t see”, said Kamal Sinno.
Anyone who would like to volunteer can volunteer especially on Saturdays and Sundays.
And to donate on: http://lebanesefoodbank.com/en/paymentonline1.aspx