Food drive
Image: LUÍS FILIPE COITO/ LUSA

Food Bank Against Hunger collects almost 2.3 tons of food over long weekend

Food collected represents 10% increase on last year’s pre-Christmas campaign

Last (long) weekend’s Food Bank Against Hunger campaign collected almost 2,300 tonnes of food – 10% more than in the same period last year, the organisation said today.

In a statement, the Portuguese Federation of Food Banks Against Hunger (FPBACF) revealed that it collected more than 2,292 tonnes of food from the 21 banks across the country, compared to 2,098 tonnes in the 2022 campaign.

“The campaign went very well. We had a lot of volunteers and a great turnout of shoppers. Once again, the Portuguese showed great solidarity, whether by donating time or food,” FPBACF’s long-standing president Isabel Jonet told Lusa.

Around 40,000 volunteers made the campaign possible, which ran from Friday to Sunday under the motto “Your help could be what’s missing from a family’s table“.

Isabel Jonet praised the commitment of volunteers, “very different people who want to work side by side to contribute to the same cause”.

“There are a lot of young people, scouts, guides, but also schools and companies that promote voluntary actions, but also people who turn up as individuals,” she said, adding that there were “people of all ages, convictions and even different football clubs” involved in this year’s campaign.

In the first two days, 1,555 tonnes of food had been collected.

Isabel Jonet used the occasion to stress that more and more people are experiencing serious financial difficulties: “When people ask for help to eat, it is when they have exhausted all other requests for help. It is not easy to ask for help to eat.

“There are around two million people living on less than €591 euros a month,” she quoted from the latest INE study, adding that half of these people “live on less than €224” a month.

Last year, 17% of people in Portugal were ‘at risk of poverty’ (0.6 percentage points more than last year), according to INE statistics institute’s data.

Equally, there are many other situations, such as “young couples with children“, who work, have higher incomes, but “can’t make ends meet“, warned Jonet, giving examples of families who “have seen their home loan increase fourfold.

“We’ve seen people fall into poverty who never imagined they would be in this situation,” she said, stressing that these extra victims of circumstance are all now “benefiting from the work of food banks”.

As a rule, the Food Bank organises two campaigns a year to collect basic foods for people in need: milk, rice, pasta, oil, olive oil, grain, beans, tuna, sausages, biscuits and breakfast cereals.

The goods handed over to the volunteers as they left the supermarkets were sent straight to the Food Bank’s various warehouses, where they were sorted and packaged.

This week, the food collected will be distributed to 2,600 charitable organisations, which will deliver it to around 400,000 people, in the form of hampers and/ or cooked meals.

Source: LUSA