The world's first food bank was St Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Arizona, which started in 1967. In 1965, while volunteering for a community dining room, John van Hengel learned that grocery stores disposed of food that had damaged packaging or was near expiration. He started collecting that food for the dining room but soon had too much for that one programme. He thought of creating a central location from which any agency can receive donations. With the help of St Mary's Basilica, the first food bank was born.
Food banks quickly spread across the United States. By 1976, the precursor to Feeding America was established. Its network of more than 200 food banks provides support for 90,000 projects. Other large networks include Ample Harvest, which lists some 33,000 food pantries that can utilise overproduction of fresh produce.
- 1967: Started by John van Hengel in the US
- 1976: Feeding America established
- 1984: Food bank established in France
- 1985: Food bank established in Canada
- 1986: European Federation of Food Banks founded
- 1995: Mexican Association of Food Banks established
- 2004: Argentine Food Bank Network established
- 2006: Creation of The Global FoodBanking Network
- 2007: Food Bank Leadership Institute established
Since the 1980s, food banking has spread around the world. More than 20 countries with active food bank groups come under the umbrella of The Global Foodbanking Network.
The Food Bank Singapore is an official member of The Global Foodbanking Network.
Find out more about GFN: http://www.foodbanking.org/food-banking/global-food-bank-community