Food aid dispensaries could start operating in the Czech Republic from 2023

The Czech Republic could see the launch of food aid dispensaries next year. In the future, people in need could receive food parcels from food banks at 150 locations across the country.

Veronika Láchová, the director of the Czech Federation of Food Banks (ČFPB), presented the project to the House Social Affairs Committee today. There are 15 food banks in the Czech Republic. People in need can get food, drugs, and hygiene products from them. Newly, the banks are also cooperating with a clothing bank, which opened today.

“We are preparing a project of dispensaries with the Ministry of Labour to strengthen the distribution network,” Láchová said. Regular drop-off points would make aid more accessible, and the dispensaries would also relieve social workers or organizations that lack space and conditions for storage. The goal is to have at least four-fifths of the planned 150 dispensing points operational in the first year. All the sites could then dispense up to 180,000 packages to those in need.

According to Láchová, the number of people in need asking for food and other assistance is increasing. In May, the federation projected that food banks would supply about 260,000 people by the end of this year. The current estimate is that there could be 350,000 in the last quarter.

Pantries are now operating in several regions thanks to grants. The national project was originally planned to start in 2024, but the organisers and the ministry will try to start earlier because of the increased demand for aid.

“We hope that we will be able to speed up all the administration so that the start-up can take place not from 2024, but during the next year,” said Martina Štěpánková, the Labour Ministry’s deputy for European funds. According to her, the three-year pilot project should cost CZK 65 million.