Record number of shops join autumn National Food Collection
People around the Czech Republic have donated more than 410 tonnes of food and hygiene products for people in need within the bi-annual National Food Collection, which took place this Saturday. A record number of shops and supermarket chains took part in the autumn collection, reaching the second-best result in its history.
Canned food, pasta, rice, milk and baby food – these were just some of the products donated by customers in over 1,300 shops and supermarket chains around the Czech Republic within the autumn edition of the National Food Collection.
The event was organised by 15 food banks, one in each of the country’s administrative regions. They pass on the donated goods to various charities and shelters that distribute them among their clients.
According to Veronika Láchová, head of the Czech Food Banks Association, the charity event was especially important this year due to the growing number of people in need:
“Since the outbreak of Covid, or since the beginning of 2021, we have recorded an increase of about 60 percent. We currently support around 160,000 people, and the number increases every month.
“The increase during the year is not that pronounced, but from our experience, the biggest jump is recorded at the end of January and the beginning of February.
“So, we anticipate that there will be some increase at the beginning of next year. In a good scenario, it will only be around 20 per cent.”
According to Mrs. Láchová, the number of people asking for basic food supplies has been increasing especially among single parents and seniors on the brink of poverty line.
“These are people who didn’t have the courage to contact or were ashamed to seek our help in the past. However, their situation has gotten so serious that they had to put their shame aside.
“There are a lot of young families, but also people who used to work in tourism and gastronomy, who are now without a job.
“We expect that at the beginning of next year, we will be approached by people who are in dire straits because of energy crisis or because of the car industry being partially closed.”
So far the biggest collection of basic food and hygienic products took place last autumn, following the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
By then, most of the country’s food banks had nearly run out of supplies, because the spring edition had to be cancelled due to the state of emergency.
According to Veronika Láchová, this year’s autumn collection will hopefully enable food banks to restock their warehouses until spring.
Meanwhile, people can still continue to donate products in Makro stores or online at Rohlik.cz, Košík.cz and iTesco until the end of November.