This initiative is confirmation of the commitment of the VíasChile Group to sustainability and to improving the quality of life of people.
The first Social Pantry in Chile and in Latin America was inaugurated in San Bernardo in December 2021, together with the Food Network and Luksic Foundation, which will be of benefit to the nutrition and health of senior citizens because it will supply food and basic necessities as well as a community space where they can receive assistance and be accompanied.
This Social Pantry not only has an impact on the health and economy of the beneficiaries; it also manages the food donated by members of the Food Network.
To date, this project has helped satisfy the food needs of 2,500 senior citizens. It has also had an impact on social problems inherent to their living situation, such as safety and health issues.
How the Project Started
Through Autopista Central, VíasChile helped fund the construction and part of the operating costs for the first three years of the Pantry, which operates in San Bernardo. This is part of its policy of support to communities that the company is implementing in some of the municipalities where its toll roads are located.
ViasChile and the Food Network surveyed the senior citizens in the municipality who were unable to meet their daily basic food needs. Through the Social Pantry, the beneficiaries can pick up as many as 8 kilos of food and basic necessities once a week without any money changing hands. Each person registered has a certain day and time to go pick up the products and the gondolas at the Pantry indicate the number of products they can take.
Andrés Barberis, chief executive officer of VíasChile, highlights this pioneer initiative that is being implemented at a difficult time. He asserts that “we are experiencing difficult times for several reasons, and we currently see how poverty in our country has unfortunately risen. That is why through Autopista Central, we are committed to the Food Network to collaborate with this initiative that has an immediate impact on people. This is the first of several social actions that incorporate the circular economy that we want to develop in the long term and hopefully implement in more municipalities in the nation.”
The project is supported by the contribution from the Food Network, the first food bank in Chile, which constitutes a sustainable alternative to avoid the destruction of food and basic necessities.
Of benefit to people and the environment
Recovering food and toiletries, among other products, keeps them from becoming waste, and that has a positive environmental impact because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions caused by their destruction.
According to monthly measurements by Greenlab, part of the Office of Scientific and Technological Research of the Catholic University of Chile (abbreviated as Dictuc in Spanish), it is estimated that the recovery of products by the Food Network means that 78 kilos of CO2e are avoided monthly per beneficiary. This signifies that the emission of 2,340 tons of CO2 is avoided annually by delivering products to 2,500 senior citizens.