Food rescuers in action –
the new heroes of our time
Part 2

It is said that you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. The risk of buying too much is particularly high on an empty stomach. So it happens from time to time that too many products end up in the shopping cart. The kitchen and storeroom seem to be overflowing with food, there is no more room. Some minimum shelf lives are coming to an end and it seems impossible to use up all the food in the short time available. But throwing it away is not a solution!

In our blog post “Food rescuers in action – the new heroes of our time, part 1″, presented companies that rescue food that is still edible and offer it for sale in a transformed form. You support their mission by consuming their products. However, there is also the option of donating your own food and thus also counteracting waste. In today’s article, we will show you three places where you can make donations to support people in need.

Caritas Austria

Volunteer for Caritas Austria

Caritas is an association in Austria that has been supporting people in need since 1900, regardless of their origin, gender or religion. Among other things, the organization is dedicated to providing food. If you have food that is still edible and has a longer shelf life, you can donate it to various drop-off points throughout Austria.

Le+O - Food and orientation

If you live in Vienna and Lower Austria East, you can send your food directly to the “Le+O – Food & Orientation” aid project. This was set up in 2009 and provides people affected by poverty with donated food as well as free advice and organizational services. If there is a lot of food that has been collected from relatives, friends and work colleagues as part of a donation campaign, for example, it can be delivered directly to the Le+O warehouse or collected by volunteers. Of course, you also have the option of bringing your donations to the Le+O parishes. The collection points and information on donation drop-off times can be found on the Caritas website.


The foodsharing initiative is an online platform where private individuals can share food with others free of charge. It was launched in Cologne in June 2012 by filmmaker Valentin Thun following the release of his documentary “Taste The Waste”. Vienna and Graz have been foodsharing cities in Austria since 2013. You have three different options for donating your food and supporting the site. After registering on the website, you can choose between the following options:

1. Foodsharer

As a “food sharer”, as the name suggests, you share your leftover food products with others who could make good use of them. To do this, you create a virtual food basket and offer it on the foodsharing online platform. This then appears on a location map that shows website users all available baskets in their vicinity. If someone decides to take your basket, they can contact you directly by email, messenger or phone and your food will then be delivered to them free of charge in the next step

2. Foodsaver

Volunteers who work on behalf of a regional foodsharing group are referred to as “food savers”. They collect leftover food from businesses that have entered into a cooperation with foodsharing and distribute it to private individuals and non-profit organizations or place it in the “Fair-Teiler” (What is that? You’ll find the answer a little further down.).

It is important to mention that as a Foodsaver you have to follow certain rules. For example, you must be at least 18 years old and pass a quiz on the contents of the so-called “foodsharing wiki”. Once you’ve got the rules down, there’s nothing standing in your way of becoming a foodsaver.

3. "Fair-Teiler"

“Fair-Teiler” are publicly accessible boxes and fridges for rescued food. Foodsharers and food savers can fill them with food at any time and indicate this on the online platform’s e-pinboard. Anyone can take the food they want free of charge.

Die Tafel

Die Tafel Austria

The history of Tafel Austria dates back to 1999. Martin Haiderer from Vienna founded the independent non-profit organization and, together with volunteers, initially delivered rescued food to social institutions using borrowed vans and private cars. Today, the environmental and social association supplies 28,000 people affected by poverty in 96 charitable organizations with food every year. Who would have thought that the actual origins of the food bank idea lie in the 1960s in the USA? In Europe, a network of 351 food banks in 30 European countries has now come together under the “European Food Banks Federation”, or FEBA for short.

As far as food rescue in the form of goods donations is concerned, the organization is primarily aimed at companies that would like to donate their leftover food. These are collected by Tafel volunteers and distributed to social organizations. The association also organizes so-called “Tafel collection days” in some supermarkets. On these days, everyone has the opportunity to make a simple contribution to feeding people affected by poverty by donating non-perishable food such as rice, pasta etc. directly to the food bank at the cooperating supermarket. The organization’s employees receive the food products on site and take them to various distribution centers. You can find out when and where the Tafel collection days take place here.

TafelSammeltag at "Interspar"

As you can see, there are many ways to help and get involved in food rescue. Whether you choose to consume rescued products or donate your own leftover food is entirely up to you. All of the organizations featured in this post also greatly appreciate volunteer help and monetary donations, which also go towards rescuing food and subsequently feeding people in need. In summary, everyone who makes a contribution – no matter how small – is a modern-day hero.


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