In recent years, Malta has faced a national food wastage situation. A recent announcement in one of our local newspapers discussed the possibility of Malta’s only food bank shutting down. In response to this epidemic of sorts, Kunsill Nazzjonali taz-Żgħażagħ issued a press release on the 30th of October, calling for both a legislative, as well as a cultural, change.
It was thus proposed that food vendors and restaurants alike should, instead of discarding left over food, donate it to voluntary NGOs and organisations who hand out food to the less privileged. However, it is important that the food being donated only exceeds its shelf date and not its expiry date, in order to keep up with contemporary food regulation.
KNŻ suggests that the Maltese Parliament should implement a law similar to that of France. Since 2016, large French shops are no longer permitted to throw away good quality food items approaching their best before date. Nevertheless, mayor of Valletta, Professor Alexei Dingli, has already made a similar suggestion. Unfortunately, however, no MP has made such a proposal his own and went on to present it in Parliament.
Having contacted Food Bank Malta, it was revealed that although it might not always be visible, poverty in Malta is a very serious situation. Reverend Kim Hurst, the woman in charge of such an initiative, said that the Food Bank is responsible for feeding some eighty families a week. Although she is on board with the proposals set forward, she believes that more awareness needs to be raised towards the issue.
Maltese pride often gets in the way of progress. According to Rev. Hurst, it is often very difficult for the Maltese to come forward and ask for help. This, oftentimes makes the problem harder to track down and tackle. She also believes that although legislation against food wastage would be a step in the right direction, more initiative needs to be taken on a social national level.
On a more positive note, after exposure in local media, the response towards the Food Bank was incredible. The Reverend hopes that such progress would carry on.
What can you do as a student?
Rev. Hurst believes that if a collection point exists within the University, or any school for that matter, food wastage would be remedied — even if by a small margin. Moreover, donating money towards the cause wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
The Food Bank does not ask for much. Indeed, the Reverend herself believes that even a euro would be enough of a donation, “just as long as the poor are being thought of”.
Moreover, there is a need for volunteers at the Food Bank, especially on weekends. If anyone should be interested, Rev. Kim Hurst can be contacted on + 356 2141 5465 or at email@example.com.
One can find the Food Bank on 210, Old Bakery Street in Valletta.