Preparing for and Responding to Crises

When disaster strikes, food banks are often among the first to respond. We help food banks identify the appropriate resources to address crises quickly and effectively.

Food banks are crucial to disaster response and recovery

Because food banks are woven into the fabric of their communities, they’re positioned to respond when disasters and other crises hit.

During disasters—whether it’s a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood, a civil or political conflict, or a health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic—people living in vulnerable situations are disproportionately affected. Food banks regularly provide food to at-risk populations; during crises, food banks can adapt to local needs quickly and offer assistance where appropriate. Food banks also ensure a coordinated response effort by working closely with other disaster relief organizations. After the initial phases of the disaster, food banks help communities recover and are critically important to overall long-term recovery efforts.

Conflict and insecurity, economic shocks and weather extremes are the main drivers of acute food insecurity. They are interrelated and mutually reinforcing and continue to erode livelihoods and destroy lives in a vicious cycle.
2023 Global Report on Food Crises from the World Food Program

How GFN helps prepare food banks for disasters

GFN encourages food banks to be a part of local, regional, and national emergency management plans and training, to provide emergency relief in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, and to support long-term recovery efforts. We do this through: 

  • Providing specialized technical assistance
  • Offering financial support where possible to assure members can continue to operate during times of disaster
  • Advising GFN members as they create and update their disaster response plans
  • Encouraging food banks to become officially recognized as essential service providers and integrated into governmental disaster management plans.

Tider Food Banks Launch Emergency Response Hours After Devastating Earthquakes

On February 6, 2023, a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks devastated southeastern Turkey (Türkiye) and northwestern Syria. Within hours, Tider Basic Needs Association (Tider), GFN’s member food bank in Turkey, began to respond. They started to assess the damage and needs, and almost immediately began to mobilize food and other critical supplies through its network of 66 locally led food banks.

As natural disasters have become increasingly common in Turkey, Tider is also a member of Afet Platformu (Disaster Platform), an association of over 20 NGOs that collectively coordinate disaster response across the country.

In the video below, Tider’s President Hande Tibuk reflects on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.

See More Ways Food Banks Partner to Build Resilient Communities