The first known ‘food bank’ was established in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1967 by John van Hengel – a volunteer at a busy St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen.
One day he noticed a woman going through a trash bin behind a supermarket, uncovering that supermarkets and restaurants were throwing away enormous amounts of perfectly edible food every day.
He began meeting with store managers in the area and persuaded them to donate the unsaleable food to his charity. Soon he was receiving more food than he could use. With the help of a local church he established a centrally located warehouse from which any charity could receive donations – and the first food bank was born.
From here the concept of foodbanking spread across the US and around the globe.
Foodbank is now the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia – servicing over 2,400 charities in every state and territory to enable them to provide food to 815,000 people a month.
Foodbank is also a proud member of the Global Foodbanking Network, an international organisation dedicated to developing foodbanking around the world.See more