The Banc dels Aliments, against the ropes due to inflation
The Banc dels Aliments de les Comarques de Tarragona, and with it the 165 solidarity entities to which it contributes the food that they distribute among its 40,000 beneficiaries throughout the province, are going through a bad time due to the inflationary crisis. The situation is alarming, but not critical or irreversible. For now, the Banc dels Aliments continues to send the products requested by charitable associations, which in turn can continue to respond to those most in need, perhaps with somewhat smaller food packages in some cases, but no one is left without eating. If there are issues such as fresh products not arriving or that there is less variety than before, with a lot of junk food, but there is maintenance. What the Banc dels Aliments does denounce is that they are running out of stock. The large shelves that they used to fill in their Reus facilities are empty, since everything that arrives leaves at the moment. The main reason, they lament, is that the agri-food industry no longer has surpluses, that is, leftover products from which the institution benefited a lot. They also acknowledge that the number and amount of donations have fallen considerably.
"The system with which the food industry worked has changed," says Antoni Garcia, secretary of the Banc dels Aliments de les Comarques de Tarragona, who explains that "less food enters." In this sense, he regrets that they have been directly affected by the fact that "large stores work to order, they buy only what they know they will sell according to the demand they have and therefore there are no surpluses, many of which came to us ». However, he celebrates the recent arrival of the second batch of food from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, through the Spanish Agricultural Guarantee Fund (FEGA), with which they will be able to continue with their service.
Garcia finally says that "we have an application in which, based on the food we have, and based on the beneficiaries that the entities they have tell us, it tells us what falls to each one", and assures that now they will ask for charities to update their listings to see if the demand for food has actually increased.
From the Bank they calculate that it will grow around 10%, to 44,000, both due to the persistent economic crisis and the end of the high summer season and the decrease in employment in the services sector.
From the Joventut y Vida soup kitchen in the Tarragona neighborhood of Bonavista they celebrate that the arrival of European food has filled some shelves that had been empty for a long time and Raquel Quílez, the manager, assures that "this food will last us until January, at least" . This entity is mainly nourished by the Banc dels Aliments, with which the same thing happens to them: "We go to the day, food arrives and we supply the 178 families that we have, nobody is left without, but we did not get to make a pantry," says Quílez . At the same time, she regrets that "we don't get fresh products such as meat and fish, and we have had to unplug four of the six freezers we have because we don't fill them and they also shoot up the electricity bill."
On the other hand, the Cáritas Interparroquial volunteers who distribute food every Tuesday at the Església de Sant Joan Baptista in Tarragona comment that "there is no variety of products, there are many foods that are not very nutritious and can cause obesity, but at least the families eat ». They also try to reduce the electricity bill by turning on the freezer only the morning of the day they deliver. They assure that the parish receives fewer donations and that the demand for employment has skyrocketed.