Many poorer people would not be able to make ends meet without the food donations from the food banks!
Since 1993, more than 950 food banks across Germany have been rescuing and distributing excess, high-quality food. Every year, 265,000 tons of food are passed on to over 1.6 million people. The annual “Tafel-Tag” on Saturday drew attention to this work.
During the corona pandemic, 37 percent of the food banks were visited. Short-time working (+35 percent), ALG II recipients (+33 percent) and pensioners (+29 percent) in particular became new Tafel customers.
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Increased hygiene requirements made working with the blackboard more difficult. At the same time, many older volunteers stayed at home for fear of corona infection.
“Among other things, social interaction, encounters, cooking courses or cultural projects for children and much more were clearly neglected,” says Jochen Brühl (55), chairman of Tafel Deutschland eV
Corona made everything worse
The snake winds through the courtyard of the St. Jacobi Church in Berlin-Kreuzberg and out onto the street. It’s time again for the weekly distribution of food from the Berliner Tafel.
Before Corona, the association supported 125,000 needy Berliners with groceries at 46 locations, and now there are around 130,000: pensioners, needy families, but also more than 1,000 students regularly get food because they don’t have enough money.
Pastor Christoph Heil: “Corona has made the situation noticeably worse. Many have lost their 450 euro jobs. ”For the symbolic price of one euro, customers get pre-packed bags with different foods and can pack fresh vegetables with them if they want.
Most of the food is donated by supermarkets. And recently a nearby start-up accidentally ordered too much lunch – that was 30 meals in the original packaging for the customers of the Kreuzberger Tafel.
“There are more and more seniors for whom the pension is not enough”
Every week around 900 people come to the four distribution points of the Tafel in Offenbach. “We started with 80 customers 16 years ago,” reports manager Christine Sparr (50). “We have more and more seniors for whom the pension is not enough. Poverty is mostly female, we also have many single parents. “
Corona has also brought many people between the ages of 20 and 40 who have too little income due to short-time work.
Holger Scholz (56) has been coming to the table for eight years: “The people here are very nice. I used to work at Neckermann in the warehouse and at DHL – then I got seriously ill and had a kidney transplant. As a small pensioner, I now have to see how I can make ends meet. “
“Since Corona we have also been helping students”
Actually, Dr. Werner Wehmer (74) has long since retired. But the former real estate agent doesn’t think about that. He has been the head of the Leipziger Tafel for 16 years. There is more and more to do for him and his 80 helpers due to the Corona crisis.
“We decided to include students because many were unable to study or do a part-time job during the lockdown,” says Wehmer. “Short-time workers are also allowed to get goods so that they can at least make up for their loss.”
Adults pay a flat rate of 4 euros for their purchase, children and young people 1.50 euros.
Around 15,000 people a month come regularly to the six food banks in Leipzig and the surrounding area. Günter Brümmer (67) is one of them. “780 euro pension is not enough in front and behind. 450 euros go away for the rent, ”says Brümmer, who as a teacher for adult education previously earned 2,300 euros gross. “I’m currently fighting for housing benefit. I couldn’t make ends meet without the blackboard. “
“We have more private donations”
In one week, the 240 employees of the Essen food bank supply 6,000 people at eleven distribution points in the city. Another 16,000 people are also supplied by the Tafel via 100 social institutions, such as the station mission.
However, the rush has not increased due to the corona pandemic. “I am aware of exactly two cases here that go to the board because of Corona. A woman on short-time work and a small business owner who had to file for bankruptcy, ”explains Jörg Sartor (65), head of the Essen food bank. Otherwise, fewer people came during the pandemic. “To this day we have fewer customers and still places free.”
Sartor believes that the pandemic has increased mutual understanding: “We have a higher volume of private donations. The number of small donations has also increased. ”This is great luck for people like Roland Haße (62). The former glass and building cleaner has to get by on € 430 Hartz IV: “The board helps me a lot. Today I took fruit, vegetables, sausage, bread and meat with me. “