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Meeting of 13th September 2012

Meeting of 13th September 2012

Speaker: Carlos de la Torre Zamora – Coordinator in Marbella for Bancosol Alimentos

Señor Zamora spoke to us in Spanish but provided everyone with an English translation.

Bancosol Alimentos is the food bank on the Costa del Sol which currently works in association with the FESBAL (the Spanish Federation of Food Banks) and through this organisation is associated with FEBA (the European Federation of Food Banks.)

Bancosol is a non-profit making Charity organisation and depends on voluntary contributions and workers. Its objective is to collect surplus food from supermarkets and suppliers and redistribute this food amongst the people who most need it. This also avoids waste and poor use of food. Much of the food that is donated has been dropped when being unloaded from truck, at the supermarkets, and is unsalable but still in usable condition. The original idea came from the USA in the 1960s.

The food that is collected is never given directly to individuals but, instead, is distributed to officially recognised charity associations and social aid groups which have close contact with those in need of food aid. These local charities organise the actual distribution to specific people in need.

Financial statistics
In 2011 Bancosol distributed over 5 million kilos of food in Malaga city and its province. This food was provided to more than 50,000 needy people. The cost of  collection, transport, storage, distribution and administration was 300,000 Euros. 
Bancosol, therefore, achieved the supply of 100 kilos of food for the price of 6 Euros which is equivalent to a receiving and distribution cost of 6 centimos per kilo.

Bancosol in Marbella
This is the food bank for the western area of the Costa del Sol. The location of this section of Bancosol in Marbella helps to reduce the distribution costs and, although its volunteer group belongs to the Malaga region, they are residents of either Marbella or San Pedro. Señor Zamora is a member of the Board of Directors of Bancosol.

This part of the food bank uses 25 charity associations located in Marbella and San Pedro to care for more than 10,000 needy people. They distributed almost 200,000 kilos of food in 2011.

Donations of Food
There are various types of donor including – companies and individuals;  institutions; farmers; industrial food companies and various associations from Malaga, Andalucía and the rest of Spain.

Bancosol also receives food from other parts of Europe through FEGA.

The food bank accepts as donations all types of food and drink which are good for human consumption and from legal origins. It does not accept food which is “out of date” or without a visible date of expiry and details of the ingredients. These labels are essential.

Bancosol can accept donations which originate from:
1) excess food
2) products that are not “out-of-date”
3) food with damaged packaging or labelling
4) end-of-line promotions and leftover stock from promotions
5) products returned by clients
6) leftovers from orders that have not been fulfilled
7) seasonal products that can no longer be sold but are still “in date”.

Financial Donations are used for:-
• Purchase of food
• Maintenance of the charity associations
• Logistics

Advantages of the Food Bank
There are many advantages due to it being a volunteer organization and its objectives are:-

1. Solidarity: contributing to the fight against hunger
2. Economical: it eliminates direct food costs and the cost of transporting waste.
3. Tax: 35% the value of a donation certified by the food bank can be deducted from the individual’s or company’s tax.
4. Sustainable: by acting responsibly and converting the non-saleable products into usable resources, what would be waste for the company is converted into a usable commodity.
5. Ecological: reduces environmental pollution. A ton of destroyed food produces 4.5 tons of CO2
6. Ethical: the social value of both the product and the company is increased.

General details to be considered:-

The world-wide food programme from the UN – PMA statistics
1. It costs between 25 cents and a dollar per day to feed a refugee
2. There are more than 800million human beings going hungry all over the world.

There were a number of interesting questions about Bancosol from the audience and Davis Eweis acted as interpetor.

Question from Nina: Who decides if people are poor enough to need help?

Answer: Last year 4 new organisations petitioned the food bank to help them to feed needy people. Bancosol spent a year auditing these applications and with the help of Marbella Town Hall, Caritas, the police, churches and disabled associations they have created a databank so that people cannot take food from more than 1 association. It was difficult to design this databank because, under the data protection laws, it was essential to provide help to the people without giving any personal information.
Señor Zamora can confirm that all food collected goes to needy families. He is proud that the special award given by Prince Felipe has been given to 5 volunteers in Marbella. They need more volunteers to help in their warehouse.

Questions: a number of questions were asked about the work of Bancosol in the Marbella area:

Answers given were that:-
a) Marbella experienced a 25% reduction in immigrant needy families over the past year as many have returned to their places of origin but these have been replaced by an increase of 50% in the numbers of needy Spanish families.

b) They provide approximately 20 kilos of food per person each year out of the 160 kilos needed annually by each person.

c) Bancosol will have an Event in November aiming to collect 150,000 kilos of food in 2 days. They have a storage warehouse in La Campaña

d) They need more volunteers to work in the Marbella area and welcome any help including from young volunteers, under 18 years, and school students.

e) The greatest need of Bancosol in Marbella is a chilled room in their warehouse. This needs to be about the size of a sauna room so that it can hold 2000 kilos of fresh food. The projected cost is 6,000 Euros. This cold storage will mean that they can increase their help to needy people in Marbella by 40% because they will be able to distribute fish, meat and milk products. (This project was put forward last year by Rotary Club Marbella in a competition for support of the Andalucían Rotary clubs, but it did not win.

NB. If we from Marbella donate a refrigerated room we can be certain that our donation will stay in Marbella but if we donate money to the organisation it will go to the general fund in Malaga.