Helping others through the Food Bank

Ivonne van der Male

Notwithstanding the fact that the Netherlands is one of the richest countries in the world, 5 to 6% of the families in the Netherlands live below the poverty line. Food Banks provide free food packages for the poorest citizens. These packages comprise donations of excess food from supermarkets, day-old bread from bakeries, wrongly labelled canned vegetables and care products. At the Food Bank in Oss, 50 volunteers provide 500 people (including 200 children) with 180 packages each week. “The youngest children are also given a Birthday Box as a treat each year,” said Yvonne Langens, coordinator at the Food Bank in Oss. "It contains all sorts of items to celebrate the special occasion. We support the families with food, care products and in other ways. Our aim is to strengthen people so they can stand ontheir own again." Aspen Oss dedicated Nelson Mandela Day to the Food Bank and through its efforts is providing for 500 needy people in Oss and surrounding areas. On 10 and 11 July, the Food Bank received a thorough cleaning by enthusiastic Aspen colleagues. Shelves were emptied and polished, cold storage units were scrubbed and crates and fluorescent lighting were cleaned. In addition, large portions of chocolate, vegetables and cleaning products were provided and prepared into handy portions to be included in the food packs. "It's good to be able to do something for someone else," was regularly heard being shared during this day. Plans have also been made to do more for the Food Bank with crates being positioned at the site to gather donations of food and toys. This approach will provide support to Food Bank throughout the year and not only on Mandela Day.