This year’s national food bank campaign in Portugal collected over 1600 tons of food in over 2000 shops countrywide. The president of Banco Alimentar, Isabel Jonnet, reported that they recorded a drop in the amount of food collected, by 243 tons, compared to last year’s event. The slight decrease was attributed to the fact that, this year’s event was held over a long weekend, so a lot of people were not in their usual place.
Jonnet encouraged donors to be more generous in future similar events, considering community-based aid was cut off. The food collected over the weekend was distributed to over 400000 needy people. The food banks themselves, do not usually distribute the food. Instead, they supply it to aid organizations like the Red Cross. By doing this, it quickly reaches the neediest in society.
Portugal’s budget has been in crisis, and it’s getting worse. This crisis has led to high unemployment and taxation. The unemployed mostly rely on relief food. Even the middle class are finding themselves in need of food aid. The taxation rates are so high that they find it hard to lead a normal life, as they used to.
This growing number of needy Portuguese has become overwhelming to food bank organizations. Although 18 food banks are serving 1830 organizations, the number of proven needy citizens is too high. But these organizations are doing their best, by ensuring a large number of people are getting at least one meal per day.
Jonnet said that the food collection was not closed. Donors can always donate their foods thorough “Ajuda Vale” campaign product vouchers available at supermarkets. Or even online at www.alimentestaideia.pt. These donations will help ease the demand from the increasing population of needy citizens. Keeping this movement going is not easy. She did not forget to thank food drive organizations, donors and volunteers. She also encouraged them to continue with their humanitarian help.