Working with the food industry: bringing food and building networks for those in need in Denmark

Oak Foundation Denmark

10 July 2019

As much as 88 tonnes of food, most of it good quality, is wasted annually in the European Union – the equivalent of 173 kilograms per person.[1] Oak Foundation Denmark supports efforts to use this food to feed vulnerable populations and foster friendships among communities.

“When supermarkets have a box of eight apples that contains one bad apple, they throw the whole box away, even though there are seven good apples,” says Julie Herrings, a volunteer at Vesterbro Maduddeling, a not-for-profit organisation that collects food from supermarkets that would ordinarily be thrown out and distributes it to people in need. “What we do is open the box and then distribute the seven good apples to those who really need them.”

Charlotte Oestervang founded Vesterbro Maduddeling soon after she discovered how much food gets thrown away by supermarkets when she herself was struggling to make ends meet, due to health issues. Vesterbro Maduddeling not only provides free, good quality food to those in need, but also a safe meeting place for people to come, share and chat with each other.

“When you come, time after time, you aren’t just surrounded by a group of people but rather by a network and a group of friends. So you get something personal out of being here”

– Charlotte Oestervang, founder of Vesterbro Maduddeling.

The not-for-profit organisation FødevareBanken has the same mission as Vesterbro Maduddeling, but operates on a much larger scale and was able to deliver food to 245 organisations across Denmark in 2018.

FødevareBanken delivers fresh surplus from the food industry to organisations around Denmark catering to socially disadvantaged people. This includes women’s shelters, migrant communities, homeless shelters, etc. Additionally, FødevareBanken runs “Breakfast Clubs,” programmes that deliver meals to schools so that students – who, for whatever reason don’t eat breakfast at home – can eat breakfast at school with their friends.

Watch the video about the work of both Vesterbro Maduddeling and FødevareBanken below:

This grant falls under Oak Foundation Denmark, which supports broad, professional, holistic and innovative approaches that tackle social issues at the root. To find out more, read about Oak Foundation Denmark Programme strategy or visit the Oak Foundation Denmark website here (in Danish).

To learn more, click here for Vesterbro Maduddeling’s Facebook page and here for FødevareBanken’s website.

Photo: © Vesterbro Maduddeling

[1] Ref: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20170505STO73528/food-waste-the-problem-in-the-eu-in-numbers-infographic

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