After one month and a half with a daily delivery of 1500 healthy children´s meals, the ‘Los Salvacomidas’ initiative ends tomorrow. Overall, 60,000 meals will have been delivered in Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Madrid (Spain), among financially-struggling households due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that action, not only has the difficult situation of many families been alleviated, but it has also prevented the waste of 3 tons of food as well as delivering educational supplies to 3,000 families with games and indications about healthy eating habits.
The project started in mid-May, during the full impact of the pandemic, thanks to the boost of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), and especially thanks to EIT Food. It relied on two contributors: Ausolan, for preparing the meals, and the Spanish Food Banks, for their delivery through associations and NGOs that work with the families in need.
Over 100 volunteers and 50 associations and NGOs that work with the families in need have participated in order to carry out the campaign. The contributions of other businesses in the food sector have also been of key importance: Grupo AN, Angulas Aguinaga, Bacalaos Alkorta, Okin, Danone and Plátano de Canarias. In addition, the Basque Food Cluster has collaborated by exercising its link with other Basque businesses in the sector; and the IMDEA Food Institute, which did the qualitative evaluation of the meals offered, giving orientation in order to make the meals more nutritionally balanced, as well as contributing to the design and supervision of the nutritional education activities that were given to the families.
The last delivery will be made tomorrow, Tuesday. The meals have been prepared in the central kitchens of Ausolan in Gipuzkoa and Madrid, and have been taken to the warehouses prepared by the food banks of Bizkaia (in Basauri), Gipuzkoa (in Bergara and Oiartzun) and Madrid (in Alcalá de Henares). From these places they have been taken by the NGOs responsible for delivering the meals to the final recipients.
Education in healthy habits
“The campaign has undertaken the principal objective, which was to help vulnerable families with children that have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, preventing the risk of obesity and malnutrition”, explains Begoña Pérez-Villarreal, EIT Food director in south Europe. “But we have also achieved the other two challenges that we were proposing. On the one hand, avoid food waste thanks to the collaboration with businesses in the sector. Finally, there have been more than 3000 kilograms. And on the other hand, we have delivered teaching materials to over 3000 families, with games and indications for the children to learn healthy eating habits”, concludes Pérez-Villarreal.
Those educational elements are already available on the website salvacomidas.com (in Spanish), for all those families or centres that want to download and use them.
The entire process will be done under strict health, nutritional, and hygienic criteria: they will serve products such as pulses, rice, vegetables, fish, fruit, and yoghurt. In this sense, the project addresses Goals 2 (Zero hunger) and 12 (Responsible consumption and production) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).