Record number of people turned to Belgian food banks in 2019
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    Record number of people turned to Belgian food banks in 2019

    On a national level, 2019 saw a 6% increase compared to 2018. Credit: Pascal Maramis/Flickr

    The Food Bank Brussels-Brabant has moved to Neder-Over-Heembeek where the distribution centre is three times as large as it was before, to meet the growing demand.

    A record number of people called on the Belgian Food Banks in 2019. On a national level, 2019 saw 168,476 people receiving aid via locally affiliated associations every month, a 6% increase compared to 2018. Additionally, 152,524 people received help through non-affiliated organisations and help centres, bringing to total to 321,000 people, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

    The Brussels-Brabant Food Bank has been operating from the municipality of Anderlecht since its creation in 1986, but recently moved because the building no longer met the growing needs. The current building, in which €600,000 has been invested, has 2,200 square metres of storage space and a freezing capacity of 90 square metres, and is three times larger.

    In Brussels, the growth was not as spectacular, with 25,986 people using the food bank every month in 2019, compared to 25,581 a year earlier.

    The increase in demand for food parcels is primarily due to the rise in poverty, according to Piet Vanthemsche, the chairman of the Belgian Federation of Food Banks. Approximately one-third of the inhabitants of Brussels have to live on an income below the poverty risk limit, he said, reports Bruzz. It is also possible that more and more associations are finding their way to the Food Bank.

    A total of 17,936 tonnes of food, an increase of 17% compared to a year earlier, was distributed in Belgium in 2019, of which 3,961 tonnes went to the Brussels-Brabant Food Bank, which, in turn, distributes it further.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times