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Local food banks launch alliance to share resources, push for new laws

TAIPEI -- Six food banks in Taiwan launched an alliance in Taipei on Thursday to share their resources and logistics more effectively and to push for legislation that encourages donations to food banks.

The founding of the Cozy Food Bank Alliance in Taiwan is aimed at “saying no to wasting resources,” the alliance said in a statement.

Its members include the Taiwan People's Food Bank Association, the 1919 Food Bank, the Andrew Food Bank, the Chinese Youth Peace Corps Food Bank, the Southern Airport's Jen Ji Shiang Food Bank and the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China's Taichung branch, which operates a food bank in the central municipality.

“We hope to send the supplies to people in need in the fastest and most efficient way,” Lawrence Liu, president of the Taiwan People's Food Bank Association and the first secretary-general of the alliance, said at a press conference.

Members of the alliance will share resources, information and logistics with each other, and cooperate in disaster relief assistance, community development and care services, Liu said.

They will also push for legislation that gives tax breaks to individuals and companies that donate to food banks, allows food banks or the public to purchase excess farm produce at discounted prices to give to the needy, and better ensure the safety of the food being distributed, Liu said.

He said Taiwan wastes 2.75 million tons of food each year, enough to feed 260,000 low income households for 20 years.

Anthony Kitchen, manager of network programs with the U.S.-based Global FoodBanking Network, stressed that food banks create a “win-win” situation for all involved.

In addition to helping people in need, food banks benefit businesses and organizations that have a problem with surplus food, which could otherwise cost time and money to deal with, he said at the press conference.

A food bank collects and distributes surplus food to people too impoverished to adequately feed themselves and their families. The first food bank was established in the United States in 1967.

The Taiwan People's Food Bank Association became the 24th member of the Global FoodBanking Network in 2012.

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