Rising transport and food costs from runaway inflation exacerbated by the war in Ukraine endangered the position of the Food Bank and district food distributors, which were forced to cut more than 12% of the amount of products what they distribute “per person and per month”, explains Luis Fatio-Vilas, president of the Banc dels Aliments. In Catalonia more 236,500 people are in a situation of food poverty, a figure that has risen 20% pandemic and that the situation is expected to worsen this year due to skyrocketing inflation and the associated accelerated loss of purchasing power.
According to the president of the Banc dels Aliments, this increase in demand is due, on the one hand, to those who “moved from home as a result of the war”, and on the other, “derivative budget imbalance“which not everyone can handle. “Some organizations have already contracted us to provide food to families hosting war refugees,” he notes.
Added to this situation was a new shortcoming: an almost six-month delay in the payment of the allowance received by the Banc dels Aliments from FEGA, Spanish Food Guarantee Fund. Fatio-Vilas regrets that since December they have not received this aid, which is part of a program for disadvantaged people managed by the European Union.
To mitigate this whole situation, the third solidarity action started on May 16.”No home without food“managed La Caisha Foundation and in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Food Banks. This year it is planned to collect more than 1.1 million eurosa metric similar to that achieved between 2020 and 2021.
The Most Necessary Most Expensive
This lack of donations means that the Banc dels Aliments and the organizations had to make “more efforts not to interrupt the regular distribution of food,” says Fatio-Vilas. Unfortunately, this extra effort has a limit. Josep Manel, secretary of the Gràcia Participa solidarity project, explains that they can no longer grow or serve more people: “Our limit is not space or volunteers, the problem is the economy,” he complains.
Rebost Solidari de Gràcia is currently serving 1,400 people with over 400 people on the waiting list.
Restore Solidarity de Gracia, one of the activities of this organization, is currently engaged in 1400 people and has more 400 on the waiting list. Given the scarcity of certain foodstuffs, self-organization is the only option left to them. “Now we have fewer products coming to us, and to solve this problem, we either buy them ourselves or turn to people in the neighborhood,” he explains.
Another way to deal with this situation is to take advantage of food that, on the other hand, will be meant for waste. However, there are products that you must buy, and it is they who have become more expensive. This is 135% more than the price of sunflower oil and almost twice as much as meat, fish and rice. “We need financial resources to deal with the massive purchases we have to make,” says Fatyo-Vilas. In addition, he emphasizes that in this quarter they bought “more than 3.5 million kg of food“, and that it had a higher cost than expected at the beginning of the year.
This price increase has a direct impact on plaintiffs. “I see other users who ask for more things and cannot offer them despite goodwill,” he sums up. Anna Jesusobject user I saw I sawlocated in the area of San Antonio from Barcelona. “What I used to buy in the supermarket for ten euros is now impossible for me,” he says.
Banc dels Aliments bought “more than 3.5 million kilos of food” this quarter.
Ana has been dealing with this entity for two years, and she is very grateful to them, because they were her.the rescue“when she was left a widow and an orphan at the beginning of the pandemic, with five minor children in her care, is no longer what it used to be,” he adds. In fact, the President of Banc dels Aliments emphasizes that the biggest costs are associated protein, especially with fish and chicken.
Ana also noticed a decrease in the amount of toilet paper and household products offered to users. Accordingly, Gràcia Participa is launching a campaign against menstrual poverty, which affects many women.
For Joseph Manel it is “hard time“, and the fact is that in Rebost Solidari de Gràcia they had to manage so that users do not notice the absence of certain products so much. They do not work with batches of food, but with a system that sets points according to each product “For that If we have more, we have reduced points, and if we have less, we have increased points,” he explains. In Veí a Veí, they also work in a similar way, stipulating fictitious prices based on food. They can offer users: “When you don’t have to buy what you want, you have to eat what’s available,” says De Jesus.
The cycle of poverty
Gracia Participa: “We have volunteers who have become users of the pantry”
Fatio-Vilas explains that one of the big problems of poverty is “its chronicity” because “once you get in it’s hard to get out“. The current situation, which is still dragging the consequences of the pandemic, has given way to a new consumer profile. “Now we find families in which both members work, but who are poor because they cannot live if they have to pay rent,” they warn they are from Gràcia Participa. In addition, the line between help and need is getting thinner: “We have volunteers who have become users of the pantry,” explains Josep Manel.
From Gràcia Participa they warn that “no plan b“take over all the work they do from the entities. For their part, Fatyo-Vilas sees”very insufficient“resources that are allocated to guarantee” the realization of the right to food” and requires commitment from institutions, since “solidarity covers things, but does not solve all problems,” he concludes.
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