Cities reacted to the crisis by setting up specific actions regarding access to food and food delivery, particularly for vulnerable groups. Different approaches and measures for new food aid systems have been put in place by the food policy teams of many cities that are part of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP). The MUFPP team organised a talk between Sao Paulo, Milan, Barcelona and Washington DC to exchange on challenges and solutions.
Through its ‘Emergency Community Response Hub’ Birmingham City Council has been providing food aid to the most vulnerable citizens since the beginning of the pandemic. It has also activated new communication channels and coordinated its response alongside charities and volunteers. Read more here and here
Bordeaux has launched a new trial project helping members of a dozen social grocery stores to buy fresh fruit and vegetables by having the city pay the difference between cost price and store price. The city also supports the Food Bank and various other organisations to give access to good quality food to those in need for free. The city and its partners have collected around €300,000 to finance food distribution actions.
Less flowers, more tomatoes, courgettes and potatoes to feed vulnerable people in Nantes. The city is transforming green spaces, greenhouses, shared gardens or unoccupied green areas into vegetable gardens. Around 50 plots, for a total of 25,000 m2, will grow tomatoes, courgettes, beets and corn to be harvested in mid-July, and potatoes, squash and dried beans to be harvested in October. In total, the city hopes to collect 25 tons of vegetables, to be distributed to about 1,000 households in difficulty via the Food Bank, the Secours populaire, the Restos du cœur and neighbourhood associations. Read more here (in French)
Guimaraes is reopening food establishments and markets. Terraces will reclaim the public space and establishments that have the licences for terraces will be exempted from paying fees on them. The city will distribute protective equipment to these establishments. More info here (in Spanish)
With around half the usual circulation of traffic on its roads, Vilnius’ bars and cafés are being encouraged to take advantage of all public spaces to set up tables free of charge, while respcting physical distancing rules. Read more here
The municipal markets will start to sell vouchers to give the consumers the opportunity to support the action made by district associations to provide food to those in need. The Economy, Innovation and Employment Area has doubled the amount of subsidies for the expansion of municipal markets, as well as their digitalization, which has been fundamental in recent months and has allowed them to meet the demand of the people of Madrid from their homes, increasing market sales in this sense by more than 400%. Read more here (in Spanish)
‘Helping you at home’ is an initiative involving most of the personnel of the social services, targeting the most vulnerable groups to provide them with groceries, medication and material help. The project has three pillars: the helpline, the research unit and the field group. They all work together to assess the applicants’ situations and provide help as efficiently as possible. Read a more detailed explanation here
The City of Thessaloniki has taken actions to create a public information campaign, through measures like sharing personal hygiene advertisements at bus stops; social actions such as providing daily meals for those in need; and disinfecting public areas such as schools and municipal buildings. Download the full overview here
The City of Espoo has reassigned employees from places like libraries and early childhood education into efforts to distribute food. One part of the city’s refocused efforts in this area includes the provision of lunch packages distributed once a week to children currently studying at home. Read more here and here
“10,000 bed spaces to 730 unique individuals over the last 200 nights” is the outcome reached together by Edinburgh’s city council and Bethany Christian Trust. The volunteers and the Council staff receive now help from the Old Waverley Hotel, where they can have temporary accomodation while receiving support and advices. The hotel is also offering three meals a day for those in need thanks to many anonymous volunteers. Read more here
Lille Metropole has initiated a ‘Metropolitan Civic Reserve’ for its employees not involved dealing with the coronavirus. This plan allows metropolitan officials to carry out solidarity actions during their working time to share the burden of caregivers. These actions include food and emergency aid, childcare for caregivers or security personnel, contact with isolated vulnerable people and blood donation, in the strictest compliance with the rules on containment and health safety. To date, more than a hundred metropolitan officials have volunteered to the metropolitan civic reserve. Read more (in French) here.
Lyon Métropole has launched a distribution tool for the 350 farms on the territory. With food markets closed, agriculture producers have been mapped and offer their products via digital platforms. Customers receive the food at grocery stores nearby. Thus, citizens can support the local producers while having a healthy diet. You can read more about this and other initiatives in the city overview.
Zagreb is opening several new public kitchens to help the poorest members of society to enjoy a hot meal. This is a collaboration between the City of Zagreb Office for Social Welfare and People with Disabilities and the institution Good Home, which caters for the poorest citizens. It is also occurring in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Caritas, the Croatian Red Cross, the Zagreb Red Cross City Society and the Parish of Sv. Antun Padovansky.
Bordeaux is supporting the most vulnerable in several ways, including telephone support and emergency in-person support at designated locations, including food distribution.
The usual support networks are facing major challenges. Volunteers are often older people, who can no longer volunteer due to safety concerns, while the lockdown restrictions make distribution very complex. In addition, unsold food from supermarkets can no longer be collected and redistributed, as it is impossible to maintain appropriate levels of hygiene when sorting through produce.
Milan is providing a personal grocery shopping and delivery service for the elderly thanks to an agreement with food retailers and a charity organisation. Funded by the charity, the program works through a call centre that the elderly can call to place their orders. The orders are prepared and delivered by volunteers. The program serves around 3,000 people and involves 135 educators. Read more here (in Italian)
The municipality asked supermarkets’ chains to install new lockers to be used for the collection of online grocery shopping. Customers can order their groceries online, then collect them avoiding queues and limiting contact with other people since their shopping will be waiting, at a specific time, in an assigned locker which only the customer can access with his/her membership card. Read more here (in Italian)
Bristol has recruited an ‘army’ of volunteers through Can Do Bristol to help with response to coronavirus. They collect and distribute food. The city is also raising funds to support the local grant giving funder, Quartet Community Foundation who launched a Coronavirus Appeal Fund with funds distributed to local communities to address need.
Toulouse is distributing food to isolated elderly and disabled persons. The food kits are delivered every Wednesday by teams of civil servants from the municipality, and contain bread, tin cans, hard cheese, fruits, compote and biscuits.
The beneficiaries of the the scheme were identified and registered by a senior service hotline, and by a census established by the municipal services with the help of an associative network, social landlords and social workers at the psychiatric hospital. Read more (in French) here.
Nice is extending the childcare which it has been providing for health workers and other providers of necessary services to include the children of those involved in the food industry. The city already organises daycare for the children of many types essential personnel whom the national education system does not provide any service for. Read more (in French) here.
The Madrid City Council has established public-private partnerships to provide families in need with prepaid cards to buy food and basic necessities in the corona crisis. CaixaBank, through its Social Action and in collaboration with Obra Social La Caixa, has made a grant of €200,000 available to the City Council to assist 2,000 families in a situation of vulnerability. And thanks to the contribution of €100,000 made by the department store group El Corte Inglés through the Ramón Areces Foundation, prepaid cards to 500 families at risk of exclusion and new equipment to the shelters for the homeless can be provided. Through these partnerships, the Madrid City Council is strengthening its Family Emergency Plan to alleviate the effects of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus on the most vulnerable. Read more here and here (in Spanish)
The City of Leipzig has expanded its facilities for homeless people. Emergency shelters are now open day and night and provide free breakfast, lunch and supper. A new facility with 50 extra places has been set up to answer to the growing demand due to the current exit restrictions. Read more here
Madrid is working with Caixabank to deliver prepaid food cards to more than 2,000 vulnerable families, to the tune of €200,000. Read more (in Spanish) here. The city is also distributing more than 7,000 meals to vulnerable people daily. Read more (in Spanish) here.
Beşiktaş Municipality has created an online service providing psychological, nutritional and physiotherapy services, as well as family counselling to all residents who have to stay at home. Read more about this service (in Turkish) here.
Support from the municipality is also physical. Beşiktaş, besides its own extensive disinfection procedure, is handing out bags full of necessary hygienic equipment to residents, and is delivering food supplies to residents over 65 years old and to other people in need with the help of local police. The Mayor has joined social welfare workers in preparing the support boxes. Read more about this here.
The municipality is also delivering aid to people with chronic diseases, over 65s, and disabled people who are in social isolation, including hands on medical support and examination, and online medical consultation. Read more (in Turkish) here. To take care of health workers, the city has made student dormitories available to health workers. Read more (in Turkish) here.
Nice is calling for citizens to join the activities it performs daily to alleviate the difficulties brought on by coronavirus. These include home delivery of food shopping and medicine, recovery of certain foodstuffs from supermarkets, telephone contact with seniors, and walking pets. The city has launched an open call for anyone willing to join in these activities. Read more (in French) here.
Beşiktaş Municipality is taking action with the local veterinary service to ensure that animals living on the street are fed regularly. These animals are usually fed regularly by owners of the restaurants, shopkeepers, and market workers. However, since these businesses were closed the animals would have been in danger of going hungry. Read more (in Turkish) here.
As capital city of Piedmont, Italy, Turin is organising its measures in the corona crisis in close cooperation with the regional and national level. The Municipal Operational Centre is constantly in contact with the Crisis Unit of the Piedmont Region. Social services for the elderly are taking care of other people in need now, and a new system for the supply of free food has been created.
The central kitchen of Nice has been mobilized since the start of confinement to feed those in need, including the children of health and essential service personnel. Currently, up to 2,000 meals are prepared every day by 60 municipal officers (compared to 102 usually) divided into three brigades. Hygiene standards, which are already strict in normal times in the kitchen, have been reinforced in the context of this exceptional situation to ensure the personnel present the guarantees necessary for their safety. Read more (in French) here.
Madrid is collaborating with the Food Bank, World Central Kitchen (WCK) and members of the Municipal Fire Department to distribute meals to 50 vulnerable families residing in homes of the alternative accommodation system of the Family Area. More information (in Spanish) here.
The Zaragoza City Council has converted the ‘Tenerías sports municipal centre’ into a big dormitory for the homeless. This is in addition to 98 places already offered at the ‘Albergue municipal’. The services provided will include health assistance, three meals a day, and social services support in cooperation with the municipal social services. Read more here
Zaragoza City Council, Ibercaja Foundation and Ibercaja Bank have set up a fundraising platform collecting and managing donations from individuals and from the private sector. The funds will be used to help the elderly by providing food, psychological support, etc… As a first goal, Zaragoza wants to guarantee the home delivery of 500 daily meals. Read more here
An increasing number of people in Milan is in need of food aid. From the seven food hubs that the city has created across the city, in the first week a total of 1,000 people were supplied. During the second week that number rose to 7,000 people, and it is expected that 15,000 people will be in need of food aid each week in the weeks to come. In order to ensure safety, especially in the transport and handling of food, the volunteers and other workers are provided with masks, gloves and a special training. A strict protocol has been put in place; you can download the guidelines here and read more here.
Homeless people are housed in different locations in the French city of Nice, from night shelters and schools to hotels and youth hostels. In all places, meals are offered. The central kitchen of the city of Nice provides meals for people staying in hotels. Between 1,000 and 1,400 meals or picnics are distributed per day. Read more here (in French)
Elderly, disabled and other people who need assistance get home delivery of groceries and medicines via a new service that started this week in Bologna. The initiative “L’Unione fa la spesa” (United we shop) is a joint venture by the municipality, Coop Alleanza 3.0 (the largest consumers’ cooperative in Italy) and representatives of the voluntary sector. Read more here
Ljubljana has organized home food delivery for children from at risk families and elderly citizens. Drivers of city buses are volunteering to perform the deliveries. Over 100 people have volunteered at the Ljubljana Public Transport (Ljubljanski potniški promet) public company. Bus drivers have also started helping with urgent non-scheduled transport of people, organized by the Slovenian Red Cross. The transport is intended for people who urgently need access to essential services or errands.
Zaragoza has launched a platform for corporate solidarity contributions. The site connects the commitment and resources of private companies with the needs of Zaragoza society in order to face this emergency situation. Five work areas have been set up in which the different companies can lend their help: health, education, entertainment, technology and food. Read more (in Spanish) here.
Homeless people in Leipzig are not any more able to sell street newspapers or to collect bottles. Public toilets and lavatories are closed. To help them, an initiative of Leipzig`s citizens has established a ‘Garden fence for homeless people’ where food, used clothes and sanitary products can be donated. Instructions for using are visible for everyone.
Students of Tallinn’s schools will be able to continue to get a daily free school lunch under a special arrangement approved by the city’s authorities. Normally, school lunch is free in Tallinn for the students, but due to the emergency situation all schools are closed in Estonia. As for some children the school lunch is the only hot meal during the day, the Tallinn has decided to continue to make free school lunches available to students who need it.
Schools will inform families about the availability of a free meal and where the students can get it via the eKool (e-School) online environment and the schools’ web pages. To start getting free school lunches, the family must inform the school, as the number of meals prepared will depend on the number of those who wish to get them.
“Since for some children the school lunch is the only hot meal of the day, we do not consider it possible to deprive the children of it. Therefore the Tallinn crisis committee decided to arrange for the provision of hot school meals for the children in need of help,” Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev said. “The most important thing in the current situation is caring, and for aid to reach the children who need it most,” the deputy mayor said, urging schools and families to work together on this. Read more (in Estonian) here.
Düsseldorf is providing food packages and is arranging more shelters in the city. As of Monday, the municipal canteen at will serve as a distribution point for the Streetwork association. Düsseldorf catering establishments will take care of the delivery of groceries.
The party service Fröhlich will supply the day care centers and some emergency accommodation from Saturday. The Schumacher brewery will take care of the supplies and the delivery of the drug help center. The city has informed other institutions such as the GuteNachtBus, the poor kitchen and Fiftyfifty that they can send their needs and questions to the city. Read more (in German) here.
The City Council of Madrid provides a healthy meal service at home for 500 children in nursery schools from zero to three years. It is aimed at children who have scholarships and families with socioeconomic difficulties. Read more here (in Spanish)
Lille Metropole is supporting local hospitals by supplying barriers and security guards, new signage and food from the reserves of the municipal office’s restaurant. The metropole is also working to promote the production of protective masks for caregivers by local textile companies and independent dressmakers. Read more (in French) here.