Food Banks Respond to Increased Need for Food Relief

Food banks have faced enormous pressure over the last several years, driven by COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, the cost-of-living crisis, and other emergencies. While at least 2.4 billion people faced food insecurity and approximately 735 million people were affected by hunger, GFN members connected 32 million people to food in 2022, nearly double the number of people served by member food banks before the pandemic.

At the same time, more than three-quarters of the countries where GFN members are located experienced at least one climate-related natural disaster in 2022, while 35 percent experienced significant civil unrest. These combined impacts caused food prices to reach record-highs in 2022—leading to severe hardship for vulnerable communities.

As the need for food remains high and many families are turning to food assistance for the first time, food banks are adapting to meet the urgent needs of their communities while building long-term resiliency.

The data presented is collected through GFN’s Network Activity Report and represents food bank member activity from calendar year 2022.

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Food bankers have demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of these challenges, and they have been an inspiration in these difficult times.

Lisa Moon, CEO & President
The Global FoodBanking Network

Over 5 years, members served 4x more people.

The pandemic combined with supply chain disruptions, the cost-of-living crisis, climate-related disasters, and other emergencies put enormous pressure on food banks. Food bankers demonstrated extraordinary resilience in the face of these challenges.

Over 5 years, members served 4x more people.

  • Over the last five years, GFN members provided food to four times the number of people, from serving nearly 8 million people to 32 million people in 2022.

  • GFN also helped launch 16 new food banks during this time, with six food banks joining the Network in 2022 alone.

  • Food banks in the Accelerator Program distributed more than 18.4 million kilograms of food and grocery products in 2022, a 32% growth over the previous year.

In Nueva Suyapa, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, José Godoy receives fresh produce and food supplies from Banco de Alimentos de Honduras. The food bank partners with the social organization Movimiento de Ayuda Social Juan XXIII to distribute food. (Photo: GFN/Delmer Membreño)

Healthy food made up nearly 60 percent of food distributed.

Food banks know that access to nutritious and culturally relevant food is critical to improving food security.

While product donations from manufacturers and wholesalers declined in 2022, partnerships with farmers increased significantly and donations from retail outlets rebounded, helping food banks deliver more healthy food.

Healthy food made up nearly 60 percent of food distributed.

  • Healthy food is categorized as fruit and vegetables, grains, dairy products, and animal protein.

  • 24 food banks report having a volunteer or staff nutritionist.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, staff from Foodbank Việt Nam recover surplus produce from Thủ Đức Wholesale Market in Ho Chi Minh City. The food bank visits the market twice a week and recovers up to a ton of food each time. (Photo: GFN/Hoang Viet Nguyen)

1.5 billion kilograms of CO2e were avoided.

Climate-fueled disasters like droughts, floods, earthquakes, and heat waves, are having significant impacts on our food systems and food security, threatening food production, quality, accessibility, and more.

Food banks help get food to people facing hunger, but they also reduce food loss and waste that produces up to 10 percent of the world’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

1.5 billion kilograms of CO2e were avoided.

  • Members recovered and distributed 651 million kilograms of food and grocery products in 2022.

  • This helped avoid 1.5 billion kilograms of CO2e – this is equal to the emission reduction of taking over 336,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

In Tanandava, Amboasary, Madagascar, volunteers with Banque Alimentaire de Madagascar (BAM) help assemble bags of food for distribution. BAM's emergency food aid program increases food access in communities in southern Madagascar with high rates of food insecurity that has been exacerbated by significant drought. (Photo: GFN/iAko Randrianarivelo)

Locally led action is key.

In Quito, Ecuador, Mariela Yánez prepares lunch at Héroes de Vida, an organization that provides education and health services to people with illnesses and physical disabilities. (Photo: GFNk/Ana María Buitron)

Local leaders, partners, and volunteers ensure that a community’s unique needs and cultural contexts are at the heart of food bank operations.

In 2022, members worked with 51,000 local organizations, including pantries, kitchens, and shelters, and were supported by more than 400,000 community volunteers — an increase of 28 percent over 2021.

“Each digit and data point represents a person or family in need of sustenance and another person providing help, a meal, or food box.
The numbers reveal the activities of our shared humanity across countries and cultures and how food banks worldwide are a tangible source of hope and sign of resilience in their communities.”

Doug O’Brien
Vice President of Programs
The Global FoodBanking Network

Impact in Action

Over three-quarters of the countries where GFN has members experienced a major disaster in 2022, including conflict, extreme weather events, wildfires, and drought.
Rise Against Hunger Philippines (RAHP) served 1.6 million people in 2022, a 21 percent increase over the previous year. At the end of 2021, the country was hit by Super Typhoon Odette, leaving millions displaced and without shelter. Through their disaster planning, RAHP has already set aside 20% of their rice-soy fortified meal packs and food bank inventory for disaster relief purposes. In addition, RAHP raised money to support 3,000 families after the storm struck.
Network food banks distributed more food per person in 2022. Each person who visited a food bank received about 20 kilograms of food on average—representing nearly 60 meals—a jump of 18 percent compared to the previous year.
Food for All Africa (FFAA) in Ghana made a strategic shift for 2022 based on community needs, pivoting to distribution through trusted agency partners rather than directly to individuals, to ensure people facing severe food insecurity received more food, more often. In 2022, FFAA served 20 percent fewer people than the previous year but distributed 20% more food in kilograms, and each person received, on average, 50 percent more than in 2021.
In developing and emerging markets, Network members served, on average, 55 percent more people in 2022 than the previous year.
Feeding India by Zomato’s Daily Feeding Program focused on serving cooked meals at scale to the most vulnerable communities across India. Feeding India launched the program in January 2021 and quickly scaled it to serve 59,000+ nutritious meals daily by March 2021 and is currently serving 150,000 meals per day. The program aims to reduce the financial burden of purchasing nutritious food, making it less of an obstacle in overcoming the cycle of poverty.