ALGARVE CARITAS, a catholic charity, has had to cut the quantities of food distributed under its programme to help people in need.
In 2007, the Algarve branch of Caritas Portugal delivered 90,000 kilos of food to 2,000 families, or more than 6,000 people, through its community programme, Programa Comunitário de Ajuda Alimentar a Carenciados (PCAAC).
To date in 2008, the same programme has only delivered 6,000 kilos of food to 165 families or 376 people.
In an interview with Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, Caritas Algarve president Carlos Oliveira said that European Union regulations and bureaucracy were the reasons behind the drastic reduction.
He said this included the mandatory hiring of a social services worker and the installation of computers at the parishes where food is distributed.
The small parishes cannot implement the regulations, he said, as they have very small budgets.
He said that local authorities are already aware of the situation and that meetings are being held to ease the problem.
Carlos Oliveira told The Resident that the information reported by the Portuguese media was correct but refused to add any comments as he only gives interviews to Folha de Domingo, a church related newspaper.
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