“Thousands of Portuguese” still going hungry: numbers up for those who pass a whole day without food

Extraordinary though it may sound considering all the soundbites about economic recovery, Portugal is still struggling to feed its poor.

Numbers of those who pass a whole day without eating are up, warns president of the country’s food bank (Banco Alimentar) Isabel Jonet, appealing for donations to make a difference in the lives of thousands of low income families.

RTP television news has carried an interview with Jonet today, highlighting the recent study by the Catholic University and Banco Alimentar contra Fome e a Entreajuda where the bottom line is that in the last two years the percentage of people who do not eat every day has increased from 18 to 26%.

These are people who rely on the nation’s foodbanks and support institutions to survive.

Says the study, some families have been on their books for more than two years. It’s a reality that jars with statistical data suggesting poverty is on the decrease.

INE – the national statistics institute – reports that the number of Portuguese at risk of poverty has dropped by 18.3% in relation to last year.

Jonet explains that the situation still leaves far too many falling through the cracks.

People aged between 41 and 65 are in the worst situations, RTP’s report explains – with 37% admitting to not being able to eat everyday.

The country has already given hugely in terms of aid and support regarding last summer’s fires, says Jonet, but now is the time to help those who haven’t got the money to buy basic necessities.

Banco Alimentar volunteers will be out in force over this long weekend, hoping for donations in hypermarkets, supermarkets and shopping malls.

[email protected]