Lagos Food Bank was established in 2015 making it the first food bank in Nigeria. Since then, the organization has been able to reach 1,500,000 people in 120 underserved communities across Lagos and other neighbouring states, with the help of a network of over 10,000 volunteers.
This Ramadan, also known as the month of all good deeds, where 1.9 billion Muslims across the world celebrate by carrying out charitable acts and giving to their community, even as they engage in fasting from dawn to dusk. Brands often take the time to express their values, speak authentically and seek to give back to communities in which they operate.
For Lagos Food Bank Initiative, this season is only one of the periods they show support for the impoverished in the society with targeted outreach programs. In this conversation with the Lagos Food Bank team, they shed light on their operations and plans for Ramadan 2021.
1. Tell us about Lagos Food Bank and the goal behind the initiative?
Lagos Food Bank Initiative is a non-profit, nutrition-focused initiative committed to fighting hunger, reducing food waste and solving the problem of malnutrition through targeted programs that seek to improve the nutrition/food intake of pregnant women and their infants who are not able to get the required nutrient during pregnancy and breastfeeding of their babies. Our primal goal is to reach out to children from 0-16, pregnant women and lactating mothers, patients of diet-related diseases, seniors from ages 50 and above, the destitute and extremely indigent families. We cater to the entire spectrum of the impoverished in our society, providing them with relief materials and nutritious food.
2. How often do you reach out to the less privileged and malnourished in society?
We reach out to the less privileged on a daily basis. We have 5 active programs targeted at addressing the problem of malnutrition and hunger.
3. What does the Holy Month of Ramadan mean to you?
To us, The Holy month of Ramadan is a month of love, kindness and giving. It’s a month of paying special attention to the needs of our Muslim brothers and sisters; especially the needy fasting Muslims. We hope to enrich their spiritual experience this Ramadan by doing the little we can to provide food and essentials for them.
4. How has Lagos Food Bank promoted love, togetherness and kindness during Ramadan in the last few years?
As part of our commitment to solving hunger-induced problems, we have worked with over ten thousand volunteers across all the 20 LGAs in Lagos to deliver meals and shelf staple items to fasting needy Muslims during Ramadan.
5. How has Lagos Food Bank used social media to reach out and impact the community during Ramadan?
We use Social media a lot, especially Facebook and its suite of Apps such as Instagram, and WhatsApp. They have been very effective and instrumental in propagating what we do, fundraising for events and recruitment of volunteers. Most of the volunteers who participate in our yearly Ramadan Feeding Programs were recruited through the Facebook suite of apps. Thanks to Facebook, we are able to reach a wider audience of both potential sponsors and volunteers.
6. What are some of the challenges you have surmounted in your journey to where you are now?
The issues of Finance, Logistics and Infrastructure. We have also been able to surmount the challenge of trust and volunteer apathy towards charitable causes. We have recruited over 11,000 volunteers from inception till date who help in reaching all our beneficiaries across Lagos state and its environs.
7. This is the second Ramadan being celebrated during COVID-19 pandemic. How has this affected your outreach and how has it motivated you to do more to help the needy in society?
Last year, the COVID 19 lockdown had a great impact on so many families in Lagos state. Our mission is to act as a frontline agency to assist those struggling with hunger across the country. This period was the time our food interventions were needed the most and thankfully Lagos Food Bank received permission from the government to operate throughout the lockdown. Through the help and support of our frontline volunteers who were resilient and willing to put their lives and wellbeing at risk, we were able to provide meals from door to door to needy Muslims for the 30 days of Ramadan in 2020. This Ramadan, we hope to do even more.
8. How will you be showing acts of kindness this Ramadan?
In addition to our Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program where we provide immediate food, nutrition and relief assistance to families in low-cost communities, we have been providing Iftar (meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan) to feed fasting needy Muslims in Agege, Lagos and other neighbouring communities. This exercise has been a daily activity for us all through the Holy Month of Ramadan.