Price hikes are threatening the future of food charity Victory Kitchen that was set up during the COVID-19 crisis to feed struggling families.
Chef and founder Rafel Sammut fears the foundation’s funds could run out by the end of the summer.
He is seeking financial support from public and private entities while also calling for a no-waste policy that would see supermarkets donate unsold produce instead of throwing it away.
Victory Kitchen, inspired by the communal kitchen set up to feed the Maltese people during World War II, was established two years ago when the pandemic struck.
Sammut aimed to feed at least one hungry family every day but the kitchen now delivers 1,700 meals a week.
He started the kitchen in one of his Valletta eateries and is currently operating from another catering establishment as he awaits the planning authority’s greenlight to turn a Marsa shop into a kitchen.
"The impact of inflation on food products is extremely worrying."- Rafel Sammut
In the meantime, the foundation invested €40,000 in a new kitchen at the new premises and a €30,000 van to deliver the meals to those in need.
“Unfortunately, this necessary €70,000 investment came at the same time that food prices spiked,” Sammut explained.
“The impact of inflation on food products is extremely worrying – expenses have increased by around 30 to 60 per cent.
“And we cannot cut down on our meals: who are we going to drop from our list of clients? Access to food is a basic human need and we are all suffering from this inflation,” he added.
Sammut is urging the authorities to introduce policies by which supermarkets donate food that can be consumed despite being beyond its ‘best before’ date.
A similar law exists in France where, since 2016, supermarkets have been banned from destroying unsold food that could be donated.
“This would balance out the negative impact of inflation for the short term, but also ensure that charities such as the victory kitchen have something to fall onto in the long-term,” Sammut suggested.
How can you help keep the Victory Kitchen going?
The charity is looking for:
• People who can volunteer with the foundation
• An industrial kitchen for the two months of May and June, until the charity can move into its new premises in Marsa
• Food products – including items that are still good for consumption but cannot be sold as they are beyond the best before date
• Financial support – more information can be found on the foundation's website
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