“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Mahatma Gandhi
In 2011, Banco Alimentar’s Food Bank campaign collected over 30,000 tonnes of food which was then distributed to the poor and needy – with more than 300,000 people being helped last year – and this year the number is expected to be even greater.
This weekend, the 1st and 2nd December you may well see the familiar blue and white carrier bags being handed out outside supermarkets across Portugal (and other countries in Europe also participate in this scheme)
The idea is simple and effective – you are given a carrier bag as you enter the store and asked to buy products as you shop – fill up the carrier bag and hand it back to the collectors outside as you leave the store – we had some very friendly and lovely scouts outside our local Lidl store and it was a pleasure to support them in this way.
You will see posters placed around the shop to remind you of the particular items which are requested – long life/dried milk; sugar; tinned sausages; tuna; olive oil and oil. Dried long-life goods are required – we added in pasta too.
The Portuguese Federation of Food Banks Against Hunger charity then co-ordinate all the food collected and its distribution. The first food bank in Portugal was established in 1990 – the idea, originally from America, is one of reducing food waste and supporting those in need, so that ‘all may have food’ – a basic right under the Human Rights Act. This is now a worldwide movement and Portugal is affiliated to the European Federation of Food Banks – and with two million people in Portugal being classified as ‘in poverty’ this is a much needed and important charity campaign.
The scheme is also online until the 9th December with a nifty website at Alimentestaideia which shows the total of food items donated online to date:
Many other organisations and charities also join in with fund-raising this weekend – we had great fun this morning joining the Holiday Inn Algarve at Armaçao de Pêra with their first ever ‘Great Father Christmas Charity Walk’ with food items donated en route.
The sight of more than 50 Santas all parading around the centre of town and along the promenade was quite something – and certainly stopped people in their tracks in the local market!
So if you are out and about this weekend and someone hands you a blue and white carrier bag – please donate something – every little certainly helps!
If you have enjoyed this post you might also enjoy The 12 Days of Christmas Portuguese Style