The Covid-19 outbreak and the sharp rise in the cost of living have accentuated the struggles faced by low-income families who are having to resort more than ever to the services provided by the Malta Food Bank Foundation. This is why the Foundation is calling for public support in order to meet the demand.

Voice of the Workers Weekly spoke to its founder Irene Schembri on the work they have been doing for the last decade in the fight against poverty.

Established in 2011, this entity is affiliated with the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA).  “The Malta Food Bank Foundation runs differently to any other organisation in Malta.  Its operations are unique as it does not seek to distribute food to individuals,” Schembri explained.

“NGOs are happy to receive food from MFBF and distribute this food to their members to whom they are already offering different services, depending on the nature of their NGO, and whose members they know already very well,” she added.

MFBF does not buy food unless it receives monetary donation with a specific request for such purpose. Moreover, it does not sell food either and it operates through its Partners who are registered and established charitable organisations who apply and agree to sign an agreement with MFBF. 

Over 3,500 requesting help

At the start there were 15 Charity Organisations who showed interest in acting as the Foundation’s partners and requested to receive food. However, the ultimate yardstick is the number of people benefiting from this service.

“The current demand exceeds 3,500 men, women and children.  Unfortunately, we do not have food to serve everyone.”

The first and greatest challenge which the Foundation had faced was to have an adequate warehouse to store the food. Pledges of support from the authorities never materialised but fortunately the Archdiocese of Malta stepped in to provide a warehouse at Fra Diego in Ħamrun from where MFBF started its operations. 

“MFBF runs like other Food Banks in Europe (over 300 food banks) who are members of FEBA.  We are trained by FEBA and are continuously in touch with FEBA on all the different levels.  We attend to several meetings throughout the year, both physical and since Covid-19, virtual. This way we keep in touch with our colleagues out there and learn through their best practices and how they run their activities.”

Feeling the pinch of the rise in the cost of living

Despite all efforts made, poverty remains and sadly is on the rise.  Covid-19 left its negative impact and prospects are not so great. 

“This is rendering families and individuals who were hit hard in different ways, asking for food. Unfortunately, it is well known that cost of living is rising as we are all witnessing prices of essential food soaring!”

The Foundation strives to acquire food which is perfectly safe to consume which for some reason is going to waste. 

“It is unfortunate that Malta does not have legislative measures, like other countries such as France, that saves any food, good for human consumption, from being thrown away. MFBF feels that there is not enough awareness in our country on food labelling for the ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By Date’ for food products.  Some people who are in need of food are not accepting food distributed to them if the label shows that the date is past by the ‘Best Before’when this food is perfectly edible by months after the ‘Best Before Date’ shown on the product. 

The best before date is about the quality of the food, while the use-by date is about safety. One should not eat food past its use by date, but one can eat food past by several months its best before date if it looks, smells and tastes fine.

The Foundation welcomes all the efforts being made on this issue by the European Commission especially the recent adaptation made by the Commission on the EU Guidelines on food donation and distribution which were made to save food from going to waste”.

How can you help?

The demand for food is higher than the supply. So how can people help?

“It will be greatly appreciated if a collection of food is organised from time to time by staff and employees at the place of work and donate this food to the Malta Food Bank Foundation.  We eat food every day, so it is needed, not only around Christmas season and festivities but throughout the whole year. Food is the most basic fundamental human right of every individual.”

Donations can be made by cheque payable to Malta Food Bank Foundation and sent to c/o Malta Food Bank Foundation, 11 Mannarino Road, B’Kara BKR 9080. Volunteers, who would like to give a helping hand are also welcome.  Further information can be obtained by email on  or by phone on 7905 2888

As a member of the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA), The Malta Food Bank Foundation is guided by EC regulations on all aspects from donations to distribution. 

For those who wish to know more how the Malta Food Bank Foundations you can have a look at the following link: