Spain’s economy has been in and out of recession since a property bubble burst six years ago, sending unemployment soaring to record highs.
To help those hit by hard times, families and activists from the 15M indignant movement founded a food bank in the Madrid neighbourhood of Tetuan. But unlike charity groups that simply hand out donations, this bank asks recipients to collaborate by helping to collect and distribute food.
10 Dec 2013. MADRID, SPAIN. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Currently more than 30 families - over a hundred people - are involved in the project.
Those working with the Tetuan food bank stand outside local supermarkets picking up donations, perform inventories of the food and allocate portions to each family, theirs included, which they distribute every two weeks.
25 Nov 2013. MADRID, SPAIN. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Toni Trigo (left), her husband Majid Mnissar (centre) and their three children became involved with the Tetuan food bank in October 2013 and continued receiving food until just a few weeks ago.
Before Spain’s economic crisis Trigo was employed as a geriatric assistant and Mnissar as a machinist. In 2009, however, Mnissar lost his job and Trigo then had to support the family on the 690 euros she made a month, when their rent alone was 650 euros.
“Either we stopped making the rent payments or we stopped eating. I couldn’t let my children go hungry”, Trigo said.
Soon after, Trigo lost her job as well and the family was evicted from their flat in 2010. They have been living in Trigo’s parents’ cramped, two-bedroom apartment ever since, sleeping all in one room.
Trigo heard about the Tetuan food bank when she went to try and stop the eviction of an acquaintance of her husband, who was involved in the project.
“It is not easy to stand outside a supermarket asking people to donate. But it has helped us put food on the table all these months,” said Trigo.