World Hunger Fighters Gather and Gain Strength at H-E-B / GFN Food Bank Leadership Institute (FBLI)

“We have so much in common and it bonds us together so quickly”

They came from 30 different countries, from every corner of the world, with diverse and unique backgrounds, speaking many different languages…

They left as a strong, unified community – inspired, informed, energized, and even more determined to advance their shared goal of alleviating world hunger and reducing food waste through food banking.

“They” are more than 60 social entrepreneurs dedicated to making the world a better place through food banking. These amazing individuals gathered for the week-long H-E-B / GFN Food Bank Leadership Institute in Houston, Texas, March 4 – 8, 2013.  FBLI is the flagship event of The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN).

This year’s FBLI—the seventh Annual—was, by all accounts, one for the record books in terms of attendance, number of countries represented, practical outcomes, and inspiration. Among the highlights was the “FBLI World’s Fare,” a networking reception held to introduce FBLI attendees to Houston’s international business and philanthropic communities. 

The World’s Fare was an opportunity for compatriots to meet and discuss solutions for fighting hunger in their homelands. Houston's Mayor, Annise D. Parker, attended the event and presented GFN’s President and CEO, Jeff Klein, with a proclamation, declaring March 4-8, 2013, “H-E-B / GFN Food Bank Leadership Institute Week in the City of Houston.”

Jeff Klein with Houston Mayor Annise ParkerFBLI Group Tours Food Bank

FBLI Helps GFN Advance the Work of Food Banking

FBLI is critical to helping GFN achieve the primary goal of alleviating world hunger through food banking. While GFN has food bank development projects underway in numerous countries, it’s not possible to respond in person, on the ground, to each and every opportunity that presents itself. FBLI helps GFN create and support food banks around the world by educating, training, and mentoring food bankers, and prospective food bankers from all over the world.

FBLI attendees have gone on to launch food banks in countries where food banking never existed before, expand small food banks to new communities, and build alliances to substantially increase scale and reach.

See how FBLI has an impact on food bank development and the global fight against hunger.

A Place to Inspire and Be Inspired

Among the many benefits of FBLI is the opportunity to meet and be inspired by others with common goals, challenges, and concerns. FBLI fosters a spirit of collaboration and unity that, according to attendees, provides renewed strength to carry on their mission of fighting hunger.

“There was great comfort in discovering our similarities and inspiration to be drawn from exploring our differences. The true message repeated over and over was, whatever the hurdles, we are not alone, and together we can change the world.” – Sarah Pennell, Foodbank Australia.

“For us it was a wonderful chance to meet people from all over the world with whom we have in common the same concerns and situations. FBLI strengthens the experience and daily work of food banking by providing ideas that enrich the different ways to solve common problems” – Amanda Villamayor Medina, Banco de Alimentos Paraguay.

Curriculum Addresses Variety of Interests and Needs

FBLI 2013 Group Photo

Since participants come to FBLI with varying levels of experience, the FBLI curriculum was designed to address three stages of food banking: development, newly launched operations, and expansion. Beginners learned the fundamentals of starting and sustaining a food bank. More advanced food bankers discussed best practices in operations and logistics, food sourcing, and fundraising to expand their capacity, reach, and effectiveness. Some of the topics covered during the week included:

•    Food Banks and Nutrition
•    Safe Food Handling
•    Logistics Management
•    Determining the Appropriate Food Bank Model for Your Country
•    Effective Volunteer Management
•    Evaluating and Assessing the Impact of Your Food Bank

Marty McVey USAID

Hon Marty McVey, USAID

FBLI Panel

(L to R) Jeff Klein, Stephanie Lomibao, and Amy Ragan

Presenter at FBLI 2013

Glenn Moehling

Special guest speakers included The Honorable Marty McVey of USAID; FAO’s Marie-Christine Laporte, Alliance Coordinator for the Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition; Dr. Raj Rajaram of Lions Clubs International; Matt Muraski of Feed My Starving Children; GFN’s Craig Nemitz representing Rotary International; and Dr. Moez El Shohdi, CEO of the Egyptian Food Bank.

GFN corporate partners also contributed to the sessions: Pat Coats Senior Manager, Returns Management of Kellogg’s shared the corporate perspective on expanding food sources. Stephanie Lomibao, Senior Vice President and National Philanthropy Manager for Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and David Ruiz, Senior Vice President for Community Impact for Bank of America (Houston), joined GFN President and CEO Jeff Klein and Houston Food Bank Chief Development Officer Amy Ragan to provide insights into developing successful corporate partnerships. Stephanie and Amy also joined a panel of experts including Katelin Kennedy, Manager for Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for Hilton Worldwide, to share best practices for effectively developing the level of financial and human resources food banks rely on to run smoothly and efficiently.

A key topic of concern and interest for food bank leaders is nutrition, and we were pleased to present a panel discussion anchored by Dr. Miriam Nelson, Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and founder and director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention at Tufts University, along with Glenn Moehling, Corporate Responsibility of Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company. In addition, food bank leaders from Israel, Colombia, and Argentina shared information on nutrition programs operating in their countries.


Much Thanks

The Houston Food Bank (HFB), one of the largest food banks in the United States, graciously hosted FBLI 2013. HFB is a marvel of design, size, and efficient output. The food bank provides more than 50 million meals through a network of 500 hunger relief agencies in 18 counties in southeast Texas.

Brian Green Houston Food Bank

Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank President and CEO, asked attendees to share their innovative ideas with food banking in the US.


Thank you once again to the City of Houston, the Mayor’s Office, and the Mayor’s Office of International Communities.

Mayor of Houston with GFN President and Chairman

(L to R) Jeff Klein, GFN President and CEO, Mayor Annise D. Parker, City of Houston, and Pat Tracy, GFN Chairman of the Board.

And, a very sincere thank you to our generous corporate partners who believe in our mission and provided support to make FBLI 2013 possible.

2012 FBLI sponsor heb 216x75

General Mills Foundation logo             Kellogg's logo

Mondelez logo

Bank of America logo              2012 FBLI sponsor cargill 317x150

BBVA Compass logo

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