Food banks continue to provide food, but ask for help to face a critical situation: "We are overwhelmed"
With 767 dead and 17,147 infected, no one doubts that the coronavirus is going to have an impact in Spain that just a few weeks ago was impossible to imagine. An impact that is being noticed especially among the most vulnerable groups: facing this crisis while being poor is not the same as doing it while being rich.
Last week the Madrid Food Bank, the organization that feeds more than 150,000 people in this community alone, issued a statement in which it warned of the exceptional situation it was facing, in which it was going to be more necessary than ever.
Six days later, as he explains to Direct to the Palate Milagros Benito Tapias, director of communication and marketing of the Madrid Food Bank, the situation continues to be critical: “We have two problems: they give us less food, because everything that the companies gave us in person, and there were several very important operations underway, we have lost it, and that has fact that there is a significant drop in food; and on the other hand we lack economic resources, because charities cannot collect food in warehouses, and we have to give more support than usual in transport ”.
The Bank of Madrid estimates that 80% less food is entering than usual, which is not being distributed as it should.
The situation is critical
As Benito explains, the bank is responding thanks to a small food reserve that is always kept for emergency situations, such as a stock shortage or a distribution problem, but this situation exceeds all expectations.
"For small emergencies there is a checkpoint, but it covers us for two months or so," says the Bank's communication director. "At the moment we have been able to start with what we had, companies and citizens are making donations, and if the situation does not last for many months we will weather the situation, but in two months it may be critical, because the rate of entries is not the same as the one of departures ”.
"This is not a conjunctural situation, it will last and will greatly affect a population that was already in severe poverty"
The situation could be even worse. Luckily, just a few weeks ago several small charities received a food aid program from the European Union, which has allowed them to pull their own stock so they don't have to go out and collect food. But it won't last long.
It should also be taken into account that it rains when it is wet. "This is not a conjunctural situation, it will last and will greatly affect a population that was already in severe poverty, and people who were in moderate poverty and are going to enter into severe poverty," explains Benito. "We know. We must bear in mind that we have just overcome a crisis recently and the poverty line in Madrid is very large ”.
Social entities, he assures, receive more and more people: “There are people who know from day one that they are going to be unemployed, without resources, and logically there is more demand and it will grow. The entities are working but with great difficulty. They are more overwhelmed. People are going more to Caritas, the parish, the Red Cross, soup kitchens ... "
At the moment the dining rooms, although with the due special measures to guarantee the distancing, continue to function, but the situation could worsen in the coming weeks.