Record number of stores join National Fall Food Collection

Preserves, pasta, rice, milk and baby food – these are just some of the products offered by customers in more than 1,300 stores and supermarket chains in the Czech Republic as part of the autumn edition of the National Food Collection.

The event was organized by 15 food banks, one in each of the administrative regions of the country. They pass on the donated goods to various charities and shelters which distribute them to their clients.

According to Veronika Láchová, director of the Czech Association of Food Banks, the charity event was particularly important this year due to the growing number of people in need:

Veronika Láchová |  Photo: Czech Radio Archives

“Since the Covid epidemic, or since the start of 2021, we have recorded an increase of around 60%. We are currently supporting around 160,000 people, and the number is growing every month.

“The increase over the year is not that pronounced, but in our experience the biggest jump is in late January and early February.

“So we expect there will be some increase early next year. In a good scenario, it will only be around 20 percent.

According to Ms. Láchová, the number of people demanding basic food has increased, especially among single parents and the elderly on the edge of the poverty line.

“These are people who have not had the courage to contact us or who have been ashamed to ask for our help in the past. However, their situation became so dire that they had to put their shame aside.

“There are a lot of young families, but also people who worked in tourism and gastronomy, who are now unemployed.

Photo: Daniela Brychtová, Czech Radio

“We anticipate that early next year we will be approached by people who are in dire straits due to the energy crisis or the partial shutdown of the auto industry.”

So far, the largest collection of basic food and hygiene products took place last fall, following the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

By that time, most food banks across the country were almost running out of supplies as the spring edition had to be canceled due to the state of emergency.

According to Veronika Láchová, this year’s fall collection will hopefully allow food banks to restock their warehouses until spring.

Meanwhile, people can continue to donate products at Makro stores or online at, Koší and iTesco until the end of November.

Berta D. Wells