Food aid sector in Belgium under pressure, says NGO

The food aid sector in Belgium is increasingly coming under pressure, the King Baudouin Foundation (KBS) warned on Friday. Not only is the number of people applying for food aid increasing, but organisations are also facing a rise in costs and a drop in both donations and the number of volunteers. The foundation has allocated 500,000 euros to help 71 Belgian organisations.

In Belgium, many hundreds of thousands of people rely on food aid to get food. According to the Belgian Federation of Food Banks, the number of beneficiaries increased by 18.2 per cent in 2022, to 193,344 a month. With food parcels, social grocers and social restaurants included, the Federation of Social Services estimates that around 600,000 people need to request food aid every year.

The King Baudouin Foundation looks to the various crises that have succeeded each other in rapid succession and hit the most vulnerable especially hard as an explanation. The number of people who needed to call on food aid already increased due to the COVID-19 crisis; rising energy and food prices have only continued this upwards trend.

At the same time, the number of food donations is falling. Food aid organisations are also facing rising (energy) prices and a decline in the number of volunteers. The King Baudouin Foundation's Barometer of Associations 2022 estimates that the number of volunteers involved in food aid organisations lies 32 per cent lower than before the pandemic.

The 71 projects supported by the KBS aim to make food aid more effective, promote the inclusion of vulnerable people and build their network of volunteers. "Until a few years ago, the King Baudouin Foundation could never have imagined that it would have to support these actors facing situations of great hardship," the foundation commented.




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