The pandemic began as a health problem, but over time it has shown a double face. In addition to causing many families to lose their loved ones, the situation of uncertainty and the restrictions to contain Covid-19 have triggered an unprecedented economic and social crisis. Families at risk of social exclusion have seen their situation worsened, while others, with their own businesses or stable work, saw themselves for the first time in a complicated situation in which they have had to resort to the help of social entities. In this regard, one of those that has most supported all these people is the Spanish Federation of Food Banks, Fesbal, which distributes all kinds of essential products among its collaborating entities so that they are the ones that deliver them to those who need them the most.
To help in the work that this entity carries out, the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation, with the collaboration of CaixaBank, got underway last year to kick off ‘No home without food’, a social campaign for the benefit of the 54 food banks of Spain, which now celebrates its second edition throughout the country. The initiative, active until June 30, encourages citizens to donate through the CaixaBank ATM network, the CaixaBank Now ‘app’ or through the entity’s corporate portal. Those who are not clients can also collaborate through Bizum, by sending their donations to 38014. These grants are essential for Fesbal, which “with just 2 euros can provide basic food for three people for a whole day, and with a contribution At 20 euros, a small family can stay for a whole week ”, emphasizes the territorial director of CaixaBank in the Region of Murcia, Olga García. The money collected is delivered to the food banks through fortnightly settlements, which gives them liquidity over time to continue carrying out their social work.
The solidarity action, which continues until June 30, managed to raise 3.4 million euros last year
The ‘la Caixa’ Foundation and CaixaBank initiative has the support of all kinds of public and private entities and individuals. “More than half of the donations made so far in the Region come from companies that are involved and show their solidarity with those who need it most,” Garcia underlines. Proof of this interest are the figures from last year, when it was possible to raise 3.4 million euros (2.4 from private donations and 1 million donated by the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation) thanks to which 3,600 tons of basic foodstuffs, a social response that the delegate of the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation in Murcia, Lourdes Toribio, values as “spectacular” and that García hopes to repeat “thanks to the mobilization of a society that always responds.”
The economic crisis derived from the coronavirus is something that the president of the Segura Food Bank, José García, has seen very closely. «In 2019 we served 35,000 beneficiaries in the Region of Murcia. In 2020 there have been 55,000, an increase in the Region of more than 60% “, he summarizes. At the national level, the increase has been 50%, half a million more people than the previous year. Of the 1,560,000 attended in Spain in 2020, 360,847 were children from 0 to 14 years old.
These data are also the true reflection of a paradigm shift in the profile of users who have needed to resort to Fesbal. Among this new group of individuals at risk of social exclusion are “middle-class people who had businesses. They had to close, they ate their savings and after that they had to turn to charities like ours to feed their children. They are people who in life would have thought of having to put themselves in a ‘hunger queue’ ”, laments this man.
The Segura Food Bank served around 20,000 more people in 2020 than the previous year
Despite this critical situation, José García also knows how to see the positive side of the pandemic: solidarity. The health crisis has also brought to light the help of the entire Murcian society, which has turned to those who need it most. “Before the pandemic we had a lot of support, but as a result of it people have turned to us to give the best they could. There were companies that gave us triple or quadruple more and that sent food from anywhere in the Region to our facilities. During the toughest times of the pandemic, we moved around 10,000 kilos of food a day and as we received it, it was distributed ”, he recalls, and also expresses his gratitude to the volunteers,“ without whom it would not have been possible to reach the goals we have reached ».
“We are having a very good response from Murcian society,” says Lourdes Toribio, who values this campaign as an opportunity for “hunger lines to cease to exist.” To achieve this objective, Olga García highlights the continuous work of CaixaBank, which has “social commitment and support for the territory as two of its fundamental values. This is a reality thanks to the trust that clients renew in us every day, which makes it possible for this bank to allocate part of the profits obtained from its activity to the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation, the third largest private foundation in the world ”. In this regard, Toribio emphasizes the great mobilization of resources of the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation and encourages the population to participate, because “we are all responsible for putting aside the poverty niches that accompany us,” he emphasizes.