The coronavirus hits the hard-working hands that usually collect food in Cactus supermarkets and then distribute it to those most in need. Their age can be a problem. But "we've found a solution," says the stock manager.
Due to the worsening of the health emergency, Luxembourg is aware that it is heading slowly but surely towards more difficult days in its fight against covid-19. One fact is clear: it is the older people who are the most exposed. The average age of people who have been fatally affected by the virus so far is 80 years in the Grand Duchy.
It is a flagrant truth that currently paralyzes many associations such as the Food Bank. "We had to stop completely because we are all over 60 years old and therefore, we are at risk", explains Jean-Claude Tasch, Executive Director of the association founded in 2001 by the Lions Club Luxembourg.
He adds in a fatalistic tone: "We can't do anything about it, we're all locked up at home". Georges Kieffer, the President of the association, who is in contact with the Ministry of the Family, confirmed that "in 15 days it will be really hard, everyone will be confined". Used to facing and reacting to the most diverse requests from their numerous beneficiaries (medical-social league, Abricoeur service, Stroossenengelen,...), Georges Kieffer "has never lived such a situation".
The dozen volunteers who normally collect non-perishable food (rice, pasta, UHT milk, canned fruit and vegetables, baby diapers, etc.) from all the Cactus of the country "between 60 and 65 tons a year", as the President sums up - are "out of the loop”.
Their task is also to sort all the donations (by product and expiry date) and to prepare on Wednesday the parcels which will be then dispatched by the partner associations to all those who need them in order to live more decently.
Saving phone call by a patron
"Finding a team of young volunteers was difficult," says Jean-Claude Tasch, the backbone of the Food Bank, who received a life-saving phone call. The head of the Streff – an international transport company told me, “I'm here, I'm confined, so I'll help you”. The association's stocks are stored in its halls.
An unexpected but lifesaving help that allows the Food Bank to come back to deliver. No longer parcels made on demand, as up to now, but all the food needed by the beneficiaries. "The main ones have all received products for the whole month of March and until mid-April," enthuses Jean-Claude Tasch.
If the impossibility of making the collections planned for this spring 2020 will certainly reduce food stocks, there is no danger to delay up to now. "Stocks are very large and will be sufficient for another two months," says the head of stocks. At this stage of the pandemic, "we don't have any more requests" than usual, assures Jean-Claude Tasch before stressing that other associations are not in a position to distribute the products.