Food Where it’s Needed – A Day at the Jülich Food Bank

February 27th, 2018

Once again Hans-Georg Plott impressed us with an interesting talk about a volatile and hot topic – the food bank. 

He has been working at the Jülich food bank for over three years and is also on the board of directors.

Food banks have been among the largest social movements in Germany for over 25 years.  Their goal is to rescue surplus but still edible food from destruction and to distribute it to the socially and economically disadvantaged, such as welfare recipients, single parents, the unemployed, refugees and immigrants. Currently 60,000 volunteers at approximately 935 food banks support 1.5 million needy people.

Hans-Georg gave us a detailed view of the work of the Jülich food bank, which helps around 200 families and singles every week. We learned about the concept of the food bank, as well the funding and other resources used by the 35 volunteers who work there.  A day at the Jülich food bank begins with picking up food from the supermarkets, discounters, bakeries and farms.  The food is then checked for quality, sorted and stored until it is sold to the customers for symbolic prices of 10-20 cents per product.  The sales in Jülich are very well organized.  In order to purchase food, customers must have a customer ID card that demonstrates the person’s need. The different colored cards permit customers to purchase food on different days.  This works very smoothly in Jülich, especially in comparison to the recent controversial decision of the Essen food bank not to sell food to any new foreign customers.

After the talk there was a lively discussion as well as the realization that support for the disadvantaged cannot be just the job of volunteers, but also requires stronger support from politics and the government.  The talk ended with loud applause for Hans-Georg Plott for his outstanding presentation.

We were especially happy to learn that the presentation motivated one of our members to join the Jülich food bank, where she now has already worked several times.

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