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Global Service Area: Hunger & the Kindness Award
Hunger is one of five global areas of need identified by Lions Clubs International as a cause that presents a significant challenge to humanity.
The global objective for the Hunger Global Service Area is to:
Ensure all community members have access to nutritious foods.
Lions and Leos around the world are engaged in projects to alleviate hunger and address food poverty in their local communities. In Lions Clubs International (MD105) British Isles a number of high profile initiatives have taken place.
East Anglia New Century Lions – ‘Gleaning Hub’
East Anglia New Century Lions were nominated by Lions Clubs of the British Isles for the ‘Lions Clubs International Kindness Award’.
The nomination was for the partnership with campaign group, Feedback Global, which enabled East Anglia New Century Lions to form a Lions Gleaning Club. It involves working with farmers to collect leftover crops from fields after they have been harvested commercially, or where it is not economically profitable to do so.
Club members have been trained and equipped with tools to undertake gleaning. In late 2019, with support from friends and other Lions, they collected 16,000kg surplus pumpkins and squashes from three gleans. This produce was sent on to FareShare, the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors. It helps thousands of frontline charities and community groups get food to vulnerable people through food banks, school breakfast clubs, homeless shelters, and community cafes.
The Lions Gleaning Club project meets all of the award criteria. It takes an innovative approach to address simultaneously two of the Lions global cause areas: environment and hunger. The whole Lions’ family, friends, farmers, and other partner organisations are involved in helping to reduce food waste and hunger by redirecting fresh nutritious food to those in need. Gleaned produce supports a healthy, balanced diet, which can assist in the reduction of type II diabetes, another of Lions global cause areas. Moreover, the gleaning project is sustainable and replicable. It can be adopted by other clubs and serves the interests of communities, farmers, and the planet.
Response to COVID-19
In response to COVID-19, the Lions MD105 Foundation of the British Isles launched a special fund. Awards totalling £140,000 enabled 200 clubs to support those in need and offer direct help to thousands of individuals and organisations that provide vital local community services. Food parcels and hampers, meals for the vulnerable, veterans and the homeless as well as support for community cafes and foodbanks received the greatest support with a total of £58,000 awarded in grants.
Reading Lions Club took its Santa Sleigh on weekly runs during June and July 2020 to collect donations for local food banks.
Lions feeding the 5000
In September 2018, a team of Lions organised a one-day food festival in Leicester to educate the public on the problem of food waste, while providing a free, delicious meal using fresh, top quality produce that would have otherwise been thrown away. The event prompted a conversation around food and sustainability policy with a whole host of demonstrations, speakers and entertainment on the day, and reached over 50,000 people thorugh social media and regional television news.
The Gleaning Hub and Young Farmers
Lions and members of the public took part in a new initiative launched in November 2019. This involved volunteer Lions and members of the public gleaning surplus fruit and vegetables to be redistributed around the country to where it is needed. The first three gleans recovered 16,000 kg of pumpkins and squash that helped to feed thousands of people as far afield as Newscastle and Brighton.
A collaboration with Young Farmers is being developed in 2020 with the ambition of organising gleaning events throughout MD105.