Concerns mount as record number of Belgians sign up at food banks
Friday, 30 August 2019
During the year, the public was able to select new words in the competition for the Word of the Year, resulting in 19 contenders. Credit: Pxhere
A record number of Belgians signed up at the food bank in the past year, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to over 100,000 in a hike that has sparked concerns with the food bank federation.
Nearly 170,000 Belgians are signed up in a food bank, and over 10,000 people registered for assistance in the past six months, the federation of Belgian food banks said, according to VRT.
“There are many single-parent families,” federation president Piet Vanthemsche told the outlet. “About 75% are single mothers, but there are also more and more young people who are seeking help.”
The surge in registrations in the past months marks a 6.6% increase from the same period last year, a worrying trend underscoring the fact that the number of people seeking help from a food bank has doubled in the past twenty years.
The hike in numbers also puts the country’s food banks under strain, with Vanthemsche raising concerns about potential budget cuts in the future that could impact the banks’ capacity to help beneficiaries.
“We are worried about a possible fall in the number of resources we get from Europe,” he said. “If those European plans go ahead, our resources could be halved and we may not be able to help those in need.”