Why we exist
“We believe no child or adult should ever experience hunger”
This is when Reverend Kim Hurst knew she had to step in and help those in need. And so the Foodbank at St Andrews Scots Church was formed in the summer of 2015.
Every individual and family we help might have a different reason for needing our support. From illness and sudden bereavement, to redundancies and increasing rental costs – whatever the reason might be we stand by our motto – that regardless of religion, race or gender, we will make sure they have enough food to enable them to focus on improving their circumstances.
In 2018 we made things more official by re-branding to Foodbank Lifeline Foundation Malta and becoming a voluntary organisation. In 2019 we received confirmation of our foundation status. As the years go by we are facing a situation where more and more people need our help. This is where you come in. Without your support we would simply not exist.
When an individual, couple or family find themselves in a crisis, arising from situations like benefit delays, low income, homelessness, sickness or housing issues, it can take some time for Care Professionals in Malta to find a long-term solution to help them regain some control of their lives.
That is where we step in.
We believe no child or adult should ever experience hunger, so we do our uttermost to ensure that these people have enough food to cover them in the short-term, until a more long-term solution is found.
Our founder, Reverend Kim Hurst, was involved in running a foodbank in Cumbria, UK. Shortly after moving to Malta to take over as Minister of the Scots Church in Valletta, the church treasurer advised Kim she had just seen someone rummaging through bins looking for partially discarded take-aways to eat.
How we help
Each pack we provide weighs around 20 kilos. Sometimes we provide special packs to individuals who perhaps might not have a fixed address. In these cases, we try to avoid food items that require access to kitchen equipment to cook but that can be prepared as easily as possible with hot water.
It takes a lot of organising and planning to collect food, sort into packs and distribute. Our volunteers work tirelessly to make our operation as smooth as possible.
We are open four times a week and provide food to no less than 30 families and sometimes more than 80 families weekly. That means we give food provisions to anywhere between 100 and 400 people on average every week. Thankfully there are some generous companies and individuals that help with donations of food and money. But with weekly costs of some €3,000 to €4,000, we are always in need of additional support.
We provide non-perishable emergency 7-day food packs, including canned food, cereals, pasta, sauces and rice, always as nutritionally balanced as possible - to individuals, couples or families who are struggling to find money for food.
Have a look at our Shopping List for ideas on food items to donate.
To make sure we help those who are really in desperate need, we can only offer support to people who have been referred to us by agencies such as Apogg, Child Protection, Mental Health and Oncology teams, Caritas, Sedqa, Jesuit Refugee Service or Parish Priests and Imams. You can see our full list below. We try to never turn anyone away. We are, however, not in a position to feed clients on a long term basis. We therefore collaborate closely with the Community Chest Fund and other charitable organisations to ensure we provide food to those who are genuinely in need.
The majority of those seeking our support are Maltese families going through financial difficulties.
It costs around €3,000 to €4,000 per week (€12,000-€16,000 a month) to keep our Foodbank Lifeline open. Even with regular donations of food and money, it has not been easy to keep the Foodbank operating.
To help cope with the increasing numbers requiring food, we are launching a "Reverse Advent Calendar" campaign annually. This is a request to the general public to place one non-perishable food item in a box every day from 1st to 24th December. In this way, everyone has the opportunity to prepare a food pack that will sustain a family in need for one week.
During 2015 Rev. Kim Hurst along with her team of volunteers began feeding approximately 5-10 families per week.
Within two years, this increased to around 50 families, and now the number of families visiting our Foodbank regularly ranges between 80 and 100 every week.
As of August 2018, we have handed out over 106 tonnes of food costing well over €200,000. Over the last three years we have helped tens of thousands of people feed their young ones and themselves to enable them to better endure the hardships they are facing.
Our vision is to have a number of distribution centres in various parts of Malta and Gozo. Therefore, people in need would only have to come to Valletta to register and receive their first pack. From then onwards, they would be able to collect from a source much closer to home.
We hope our vision will be realised within the forthcoming year.
Board of Directors
Rev. Kim Hurst
Founder (non-board member)
I was involved in a Foodbank in the UK in my previous appointment and saw what a real difference it made to people’s lives. When I discovered there were families in Malta that were struggling to put food on the table on a daily basis I suggested to the church that we begin a Foodbank to help some of these families. I never imagined how it would grow or the effect it would have not just on the families we help but on the lives of all those who give and volunteer, including myself. My basis for social action has always been the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 – I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.
Diana Joyce Nye
I am a member of St Andrew's church in Valletta and have been a volunteer from the time The Foodbank started in 2015. I feel that I am called to be in Malta at this time to do what I can to help the people living on these islands. I moved from the UK to Malta in 2015 having been an active member of the United Reformed Church in East Kent for many years. Social responsibility has always been an important part of how I see my Christian beliefs being lived out.
Foodbank Lifeline has really made me aware that a segment of society in Malta desperately needs help, through no fault of their own. They are not able to feed their children or themselves or even able to afford items that so many of us take for granted and consider 'necessities'. Food for the hungry is our priority. With food in our bellies, we can function and focus on finding ways to be able to provide for ourselves. Reverend Kim Hurst asked me to join as a Board Member of the Foodbank Lifeline after we met in my role as an administrator of The Alfred Mizzi Foundation, a regular supporter to the foodbank. I'm so happy to be involved, to help raise awareness, help raise funds and do what we can stop hunger in Malta.
My involvement with the Foodbank, first as a volunteer for some 3 years, and currently as a Board Member to the newly formed Foundation is profoundly meaningful to me. It is an honour to be part of a great team that works to alleviate the immense hardship of those unfortunate individuals experiencing a crisis in their lives, such that they are unable to afford to feed themselves and their families. Anyone of us could be unlucky one day and descend into poverty. I believe it is the duty of the more fortunate, who can spare the time to devote to mitigating such hardships, to endeavour to do so. And I am happy to have such an opportunity with the Foodbank Lifeline Foundation.
Julia Elizabeth Calvert
Rev. Kim Hurst has been a source of personal inspiration to me because of her dedication, passion and personal drive to help people in Malta and Gozo who are faced with unexpected, crisis-level situations. It was an honour to accept her offer to sit on the Foodbank Lifeline board and provide input and guidance on the brand's digital presence. Through the wonderful generosity of companies like Izola Bank, who have sponsored both the development of this new website, as well as the Reverse Advent Calendar campaign for two years running, we are able to continue to raise awareness about the important work we do. Difficulties in life can strike at any time and to anyone - but if we all join forces we can make a difference and ensure no one goes without food.
Sometimes we think that poverty and need are only something we see on television or overseas. Unfortunately there are people in our midst who urgently need a helping hand and I’m a firm believer in charity beginning at home. My time as a volunteer at the Foodbank has really opened my eyes to how much a small group of dedicated people can make a difference and I’m honoured to have been asked to make my contribution as a board member.