The Egyptian Food Bank is a charitable entity aimed at the supply and delivery of food to orphans, elders, widows, needy families and everyone who is incapable of work or profit. It is a national nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that was established under the supervision and inspection of the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Central Accounting Agency. It is sponsored by a number of private sector companies, in collaboration with volunteer individuals, accepting monetary and material donations as well as unused or extra foods, through collection from different entities, companies, organizations or volunteer individuals, making use of it by offering healthy meals on periodical schedules to the true needy. We met with Dr Reda Sukker, Seceratry General, to tell us about their successful strategy to combat hunger.
1) From where did the idea of Egyptian Food Bank emerge?
A group of Egyptian business men started the idea of the Egyptian food bank as they observed a hunger problem in Egypt and wanted to do an initiative that could really fight hunger. Food and drink are basic human needs and shall be valid and available, as the lack of it may cause death and a lot of illness, so through the past 5 years, we’ve tried hard to provide a decent amount of food to a number of poor families and charity institutions.
2) How do you collect donations?
Most products are donations from major industrial companies in Egypt, whether it’s the food or machines or even our factory. We also depend on active volunteer work, from young people who are interested to do something out of good will.
3) How do you build up the team?
There are two teams. The first one is full time workers, who are chosen in a very professional way. They are experts in machines and industrial work.The other part of the team is from volunteers who come to help with the packaging and all.
4) How do you prepare for the Ramadan packaging process?
We work 3 months in advance as we have a goal this year we hope to achieve which is providing 1 million bags. We start highlighting what the bags include and we manage through a systematic way until we achieve our goal.
5) What products do you offer?
Well basically we offer food, but back in Aswan’s flood, we offered shelter like sleeping sheets. We have also our own product ‘Hedeya’, it’s a variety of carbohydrates like rice, beans and Macaroni We have also canned meals including beef plus rice and beans as well as tomato paste cans and cooking oil.
6) People who want to help but don’t know from where to start, how do they begin?
We have a Call center and volunteers could call us on 16060 and we will do our best to allocate a job according that suits their qualifications. We call them back and manage the work with their own schedule. People could come after hours or in weekends.
7) What’s your plan for the next 10 years?
We have a strategic plan for the coming decade that we are currently working on. We are creating a database including the needy families and charity institutions and how we will provide them food. We made a touchable success in the past five years since we started and we’re very optimistic for the future as people are starting to be more aware of the importance of the Egyptian Food Bank.