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Coronavirus in Belgium: Food Banks worried about next winter


Food Banks are concerned about the distribution of food and other essentials for the coming winter. Since the onset of the health crisis, department stores have had little surplus. Meanwhile, the number of people seeking food aid has also increased dramatically. "We have never seen such an increase in a year," said Jozef Mottar, managing director of the Belgian Federation of Food Banks, Thursday. "The situation is extremely serious."

The crisis has caused the biggest increase in the number of people in need Food Banks have ever seen. "Since the creation of the Food Banks in the mid-1980s, we have never reached these numbers," says Mottar. "At the national level, we are talking about 15%, or 20,000 people per month." While the number of surpluses had decreased by about 30%.

"During the last period, from March to now, we have been able to respond quite well to the increased demand as we have been able to purchase very exceptional foodstuffs thanks to the funds provided by the government, companies and individuals," explains Mr. Mottar. "This has allowed us to complete our product line."

The Belgian Federation of Food Banks reports that since the beginning of the year and until the end of August, a third more food has been distributed compared to the same period last year. "As the social crisis continues, stocks are starting to decline."

Food Banks are gearing up for a major peak this fall. Even in normal times, winter has traditionally been a busy time. While in 2019, a record figure was already reached with 170,000 people appealing for food aid each month, the Belgian Federation of Food Banks fears to end up with a much higher figure in 2020. In June, for example, 195,000 people in need have already been helped.

Unfortunately, since September we have seen a sharp drop in our stocks, which could prevent us from meeting demand during the next winter period,” explains Mottar.

Read the original article (in French) here.

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