It’s Food Bank weekend

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Mahatma Gandhi

In 2011, Banco Alimentar’s Food Bank campaign collected over 30,000 tonnes of food which was then distributed to the poor and needy – with more than 300,000 people being helped last year – and this year the number is expected to be even greater.

Portugal Food Bank Bag

This weekend, the 1st and 2nd December you may well see the familiar blue and white carrier bags being handed out outside supermarkets across Portugal (and other countries in Europe also participate in this scheme)

The idea is simple and effective – you are given a carrier bag as you enter the store and asked to buy products as you shop – fill up the carrier bag and hand it back to the collectors outside as you leave the store – we had some very friendly and lovely scouts outside our local Lidl store and it was a pleasure to support them in this way.

You will see posters placed around the shop to remind you of the particular items which are requested – long life/dried milk; sugar; tinned sausages; tuna; olive oil and oil. Dried long-life goods are required – we added in pasta too.

The Portuguese Federation of Food Banks Against Hunger charity then co-ordinate all the food collected and its distribution. The first food bank in Portugal was established in 1990 – the idea, originally from America, is one of reducing food waste and supporting those in need, so that ‘all may have food’ – a basic right under the Human Rights Act. This is now a worldwide movement and Portugal is affiliated to the European Federation of Food Banks – and with two million people in Portugal being classified as ‘in poverty’ this is a much needed and important charity campaign.

The scheme is also online until the 9th December with a nifty website at Alimentestaideia  which shows the total of food items donated online to date:

Portugal Food Bank totals

Many other organisations and charities also join in with fund-raising this weekend – we had great fun this morning joining the Holiday Inn Algarve at Armaçao de Pêra with their first ever ‘Great Father Christmas Charity Walk’ with food items donated en route.

Santa walk 001

The sight of more than 50 Santas all parading around the centre of town and along the promenade was quite something – and certainly stopped people in their tracks in the local market!

Santa Walk 002

So if you are out and about this weekend and someone hands you a blue and white carrier bag – please donate something – every little certainly helps!

Santa Walk 003

If you have enjoyed this post you might also enjoy The 12 Days of Christmas Portuguese Style

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39 Responses to It’s Food Bank weekend

  1. thirdeyemom says:

    Great to hear about this fabulous program. I really like the idea of the bags too as it reminds people to help. Is it only once a year?

  2. This is a wonderful program. I plan to share about something similar that recently came to my attention in my own town, and it’s heartwarming to find that others do care and give us opportunities to share what we have those who are in need. I do love the Gandhi quote…I’d not heard that before!

    • ferragudofan says:

      it’s so great that this is now a world-wide initiative – it is happening in the UK this weekend at Tesco too – but I had never heard of it before we came to Portugal.
      glad you like the quote too – I usually add a quote somewhere in my posts – this one is such a profound truth

  3. carinzil says:

    Such a great idea this program :-)

  4. utesmile says:

    It is great to hear, fantastic idea. Also it is funny to see Santas and Palmtrees, so unusual for me, we always have snow and gloves. :-)

  5. What a cracking idea and great to see the volunteers having so much fun in aid of a good cause

  6. orientallily001 says:

    What a great program! So glad it did well.

  7. sami veloso says:

    It is a great idea and we always supported it when we lived there. Also lovely the Santas collecting as well.

  8. Fernanda says:

    “The Banco Alimentar collected in Portugal, in the past week-end, 2,914 tons of foodstuffs in 1668 supermarkets. Thanks to the more than 38,500 volunteers that helped fuel this idea.” http://www.facebook.com/#!/bancoalimentar

    • ferragudofan says:

      thank you so much for visiting the blog and commenting on my post – it’s fantastic to know the actual figures from the weekend – and what amazing volunteers and helpers this has! thinking of all the people and families this will help ….

  9. sharechair says:

    What a great program!

  10. These Santas are all so thin! It must be the Mediterranean diet.

    • ferragudofan says:

      ha ha! yes you are quite right! maybe the thought of a walk put some people off – you can see them all doing stretching exercises too – obviously being Santa these days is a difficult job! All those roofs to climb over I guess you have to be pretty fit ;)

  11. sueannm66 says:

    Great that you got involved in this. I hope the idea continues to spread.

  12. tchistorygal says:

    These are the kind of Santas we have here in the U.S. I ‘m not so sure ours could stretch like that! What an inspiring post. Marsha :)

  13. Pingback: Walnuts Change Clothes for the Winter | Marsha Lee

  14. That’s a terrific, and well organised, initiative, and rather more worthwhile than piles of Chinese toys. I loved seeing your Santa walk series too, especially Santas in a Ring, Doing their Warm Up!

  15. Fernanda says:

    A small video about the food bank http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89nw78kjFUI&feature=share (portuguese only).

  16. Hi there! Very nice photos. So very enjoyable. Happy New Year

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