Strengthening and Uniting Food Banks in India

With a population of more than 1.4 billion people, India is one of the most ethnically, religiously, politically, and culturally diverse countries in the world; but like most countries, it faces significant hunger challenges. India currently ranks 101 out of 116 on the Global Hunger Index, revealing that 14 percent of the population is undernourished. To meet the immense and varying need across the country, The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) partners with three food bank organizations, Feeding India by Zomato, India FoodBanking Network, and No Food Waste to expand food relief in India. To support the various needs of food banks in India, GFN provides remote technical assistance, resources, mentor sessions with other food banks around the world, connections to food sourcing partners, and funding.
food bank serves meal in India
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, December 15, 2021: Women receive a meal from the People’s Kitchen in Coimbatore. People’s Kitchen is an initiative by No Food Waste with the objective of providing nutritious meals to people at subsidized and affordable prices. (Photo: The Global FoodBanking Network/Narayana Swamy Subbaraman)
“It was very early on that we knew we needed to engage with organizations in India,” said Chris Rebstock, field services director at GFN. “In 2009 we conducted an analysis, developed a business plan, and helped establish the first food bank in Delhi, which has now grown into the India FoodBanking Network.” Ten years later, GFN was in a position to expand further in the country and connected with two other food bank organizations in India in order to meet the demand.

“Each organization has its own unique set of strengths,” explained Rebstock. For example:

  • No Food Waste’s unique process for identifying specific community needs involves working with municipality leaders early on. Often, because of the community’s trust and support, the municipality will provide space and storage for food bank operations to be carried out, allowing No Food Waste to focus on donation of food products and logistics.
  • Feeding India by Zomato has a notably strong and effective fundraising team. For example, at the onset of COVID-19, approximately 400 million daily workers in India’s informal sector were crippled by the nationwide lockdown instituted in March 2020. In response, Feeding India by Zomato brought together local NGOs and corporate partners to launch the Feed the Daily Wager campaign. Through the campaign, nearly 750,000 food kits, representing more than 78 million meals, were provided to families in 181 cities.
  • India FoodBanking Network’s strengths are their adaptability and desire to change to better serve its food bank members. As a network, India FoodBanking Network provides support by engaging partnerships with national corporate supporters to drive resources to their member food banks, and by creating public awareness around the work of the network’s members.
woman receives food in india
New Delhi, India, June 29, 2020: Women receive meal kits from Zomato Feeding India’s Feed the Daily Wager program while adhering to COVID-19 social distancing protocols.  (Photo: Feeding India)
The three organizations are currently reaching more than 100 cities across India and providing food access to more than 6 million people. In the face of COVID-19 and its related challenges, the three food bank systems proved their ability to adapt, expand their reach, and mobilize resources at an unprecedented level. To further the work already being done in India, GFN is working with the three food bank partners and an on-the-ground support team to leverage the unique strengths of each through stronger coordination, common messaging, and collaborative programming. These three food bank organizations provide just one example of the power of a Network and what we can accomplish together.