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NGOs Fighting Food Waste

Previously, we offered you an overview of different apps and our favorite blogs fighting against food waste. As a next step, we thought about presenting an overview of a few NGOs fighting food waste. And who knows, maybe one of these following NGOs will inspire and convince you to contribute to their voluntary actions. So let´s get started.

1) Les Restos Du Cœur (France)

The French organization “Les Restos du Cœur” is one of the largest and most well-known NGOs in France focusing on food collection and meal preparation before distributing hot and cold meals to the homeless and poor community in France. Headquartered in Paris and functioning with 73.000 volunteers country-wide, the organization was founded in 1985 and offered 8.5 millions dishes in the first year to homeless people or citizens living under the poverty threshold.

In 2018, France indicated that 14.7% of its population was living under the poverty threshold, leading us to the conclusion that not everyone has the chance and opportunity to consume dishes without financial barriers. Hence, “Les restos du Cœur” plays a major role in enabling access to food to everybody. In fact, the NGO has 1.915 centers located throughout France that offer meals for the poor community. Their centers are open daily and offer breakfast, lunch as well as dinner. Citizens depending on this voluntary service do not only receive food for free, but they also receive the feeling of belonging while eating with other people with similar backgrounds at the same place.

Picture: Les restaurants du Coeur (Website), 2021,

In addition to its centers, “Les resto du Cœur” also uses buses to drive throughout the country in order to better reach homeless citizens. As a side note, “Les resto du Coeur” means “The restaurants of Heart” and they successfully were able to offer 136 million dishes in 2019.

The Law “Garot”:

France has the mission to halve its food waste by 2025. Since the new law “Garot” came into force in France in late 2016, food and beverage supermarkets are obliged to donate their unsold products to authorized food aid associations, such as the Restos du cœur. Since then, the NGO was luckily able to collect more food through food donations from retail stores. Nevertheless, “Les resto du Cœur” needs to make sure that unsold products are not too old for health care reasons.

How Can People Get Involved?

As an individual, you have the possibility to support the organization either financially (possible amounts of donations are: 20, 50, 100, 300, 1000EUR) or by offering your own food leftovers. For making a donation (as individual or company) go to the following link:

2) Tafel Germany e.V.

In 1993, the first Tafel was founded in Berlin, Germany. Today, there are already more than 950 Tafeln throughout Germany, following the guideline “Save food. Help people.”. Their goal is to prevent food waste by rescuing surplus food and distributing it to people in need. A total of around 265,000 tons of qualitatively perfect food is rescued and distributed by volunteers to over 1.6 million people every year.

How Does It Work?

Tafel Deutschland e.V. pursues five main goals. One of them is the fair distribution of donated goods. The umbrella organization ensures that companies are recruited to donate food in large quantities that otherwise would have been destroyed. These donations are then distributed to the Tafeln in Germany with the support of logistics partners. Transport is usually free or at least discounted. When the donations reach the individual Tafeln, they are distributed there to people in need.

How Can People Get Involved?

Every day, more than 60.000 volunteers get involved to help distribute food fairly. The tasks here are varied and range from handing out food to organizing events or translation work. In addition to the Federal Volunteer Service, there is also the “Tafel Youth”. Here, anyone between the ages of 16 and 29 can get involved, share their experience of working at the Tafel and implement their own projects. If you want to get involved but cannot invest much time, you can contribute to the work of the Tafel for example by donating money or food.

3) FoodCycle (UK)

FoodCycle was founded by the Canadian cook Kelvin Cheung back in 2008 in London. His vision was a society where nobody is hungry or lonely. The NGO aims to save surplus food, tackle food poverty, and prevent loneliness by cooking three-course meals for those in need and connecting them within a local community. Especially food poverty has become a big issue in the UK, since many inhabitants cannot afford to eat healthy and nutritious food. Currently, 8.4 million Brits suffer from food poverty and the numbers are rising due to the Corona pandemic. Therefore, 5.000 FoodCycle volunteers across the UK cook yummy, healthy, and nutritious meals out of food that would otherwise land in garbage bins. Those meals get distributed under those in need within local communities.

Nowadays, you can encounter FoodCycle kitchens in many British cities. If you’d like to hear interesting stories of some of the guests visiting FoodCycle, go ahead and visit the following page. 

How Does It Work?

Generally speaking, anyone can come and visit Food Cycle locations, no matter if she or he is looking for nice conversations or a meal. The organization offers several services. The original service was the so-called  “Community Meals”, where local people could enjoy the meals directly on-site while chatting with others.  But when the corona pandemic occurred and lockdown was announced, FoodCycle had to quickly adapt to the new situation. Now they offer a “Cook and Collect” takeaway service, so that guests can come and collect the meals prepared by volunteers.

Additionally, they implemented a food parcel delivery service and sent nutritional food directly to those who need it most. During the pandemic the organization also created a “Check-in and chat” service, by keeping in mind that a lack of social contact with other human beings has a big effect on individuals’ mental and physical health.  Thus, they wanted to support the wellbeing within the community, by calling people and giving them the chance to have nice conversations throughout the lockdown.

How Can People Get Involved?

There are many different ways to get involved. You can volunteer in several positions. For example, you could check in with guests via phone call to make sure that they do not feel isolated during the pandemic, or you can also become a cooking, food collection or hosting volunteer. Besides, you also have the possibility to support the organization financially by donating money (starting from £10). During April you also have the possibility to participate in the “FoodCycle 50 Challenge”. 

Picture: Foodcycle (website), 2021,

This incentive aims to motivate people to be more sportive and fit, whilst also raising funds for the NGO. You have 30 days to complete a fitness challenge around the number 50.  The possibilities are basically endless.for example you could do 50 sit ups or cycle 50 miles.  The funds raised from the challenge will ensure that FoodCycle can continue to cook Community Meals or expand the number of projects to reach more people.

Do you know more NGOs that tackle the issue of food waste? Share them with us in the comment section below.


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