Jamilla Abdulle is a passionate advocate for food security, with an expertise in food law. She also happens to be ADM's regulatory affairs manager based in Amsterdam. When she read about the rising food insecurity in the city, and the struggles faced by food banks during the pandemic, she felt called to action. Jamilla sent in a proposal to the ADM Cares team to support the Amsterdam Food Bank, a non-profit organization feeding the hungry.
More than 1 million people live below the poverty line in the Netherlands, a situation that has worsened as a result of COVID-19. Within the first few weeks of the pandemic, there was a 25% increase in the number of households that qualified for help from the food bank, which works with companies, governments, various institutions and individuals to collect food donations and feed people in need on a weekly basis.
The unprecedented situation also brought additional challenges. During the peak of the pandemic in Europe in mid-March, panic buying in grocery stores and stockpiling of food supplies meant that there was less food leftover for grocery stores to donate to foodbanks and lockdown measures caused disruptions in food donations. Additionally, the organization's volunteers, most of whom are in their 60s and among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 were advised to stay indoors, making them unable to continue volunteering.
Operating during the pandemic
With food donations drying up and a lack of volunteers, the organization had to adapt. To meet the need, the food bank began purchasing basic food supplies to provide decent food parcels, each consisting of 20 essential items, and significantly increasing their costs. The implementation of social distancing and other measures to ensure the safety of volunteers and those seeking food throughout their 12 food delivery points in Amsterdam also made it necessary to rent additional space, further adding to their expenses.
"These partnerships are so essential for us, especially in these difficult times. We are dependent on donations of money and food, and during the pandemic it's a matter of survival. The ADM Cares donation is helping us offer our most vulnerable clients decent food parcels with basic food supplies," said Margje Polman Tuin, fundraising manager at the Amsterdam Food Bank.
With lockdown measures easing in many parts of Europe, the Amsterdam Food Bank is trying to restart collecting food donations.
"In these unprecedented times, disruptions in the global food supply and people buying in bulk in the Netherlands is something that really concerns me, because it takes away affordable and basic food items from the most vulnerable. That's why it makes me proud that ADM Cares is helping the Amsterdam Food Bank provide basic food parcels to those who need it the most,'' said Abdulle.