What began in 2001 as charity campaigns and fundraisings, in 2007 became an independent fund for providing food to the ones in need. Maisto Bankas is now fully working in 74 cities in Lithuania and achieving greater and greater results for the cause.
Not Just Volunteering
This non-profit organisation focuses on responsible food consumption, decreasing the food waste, and engaging people to fight poverty. Maisto Bankas works all year round, with some bigger fundraising campaigns in spring and in autumn.
The volunteer work in the organisation consists of a few steps. The food and donations have to be collected first. This is done by having special spots in the supermarkets for leaving some products after buying them, or by donating money, usually at the check-out. Often, some volunteers would be standing at the entrance and encouraging people to do the good deed.
Then the food has to be sorted and distributed. This requires some meticulous work every day in the storage, and a number of dedicated drivers to do rounds in the city and further away. Maisto Bankas provides food for poor families, some rehabilitation centres, other organisations, and many more in need. They also collaborate with local authorities, municipalities to determine the biggest necessities.
The People Behind
It is no secret that such organisations are mainly driven by devoted people. Maisto Bankas has volunteers for various tasks, such as collecting donated food, driving, or helping in the office. “The hard work of people has left the biggest impression on me. The way they spend long hours by the stand during cold weather, or the way they keep asking people to donate, even when they are refused time and time again. That’s how determined we are”, – says Viktoras, volunteering in Maisto Bankas now for over six years.
However, the refusals are declining. People tend to donate more and more often; the mentality is changing. “Fewer people seem to be asking about where the food goes, or what’s in it for them. They donate more willingly now”, – claims the other volunteer, Aistė, helping in Maisto Bankas now for seven months.
The donated products alone are not enough. Many other resources are needed to fully function and work for the cause, such as petrol for the cars, or the cars themselves, since many of them have to be fixed time and time again. From every ticket sold to Kaunas Gastro 2017, 1 euro goes to Maisto Bankas. From the whole ticket price, this one euro appears to be a really small donation, but it means a lot to the organisation itself.
On the other hand, Maisto Bankas helps to raise awareness of responsible food consumption, and encourages to reduce food waste. This is one of the causes Sustainable Gastro cares about deeply as well, so the collaboration is not surprising at all.