A report says economic downturn in Greece has forced Greek families living in poor neighborhoods to resort to food banks.
According to the report published byThe Guardianlast week, up to 90% of the Greek families rely on charitable organizations including soup kitchens. The report says some of these families had been rich before, but economic problems in the recession - hit country have made them poor.
“The truth is, if I didn ' t come here I wouldn ' t have the means to feed my children. Three years ago, when I was the boss and had two employees, the idea of going anywhere to collect food would have been inconceivable. Back then, I was earning 3,000(euros) a month and the fridge was always full, ” said a recently widowed father - of - three waiting for receiving food in a charitable organization in the capital Athens.
The report says that the Greek Orthodox Church provides food for some 55,000 people per day, adding that some 7,000 meals are distributed among places across the capital where food is offered to the hungry for free. Earlier this year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) revealed that some 600,000 children lived under the poverty line across the recession-ravaged country. According to President of UNICEF in Greece Lambros Kanellopoulos, “In poorer families we are seeing an inability to cope with children's health, social and educational needs. Social exclusion is growing. I am seeing it in the middle class where incomes have been hard hit by all the cuts.” This is while Greece’s jobless rate reached 27.6 percent in May, up from 27.0 percent in April, according to a report released on August 8 by Greece’s statistic service LSTAT. The agency added that the youth aged between 15 and 24 were hit the hardest with a 64.9 unemployment rate in May. The country’s unemployment rate stands at more than double the eurozone's average reading of 12.1 percent, reflecting a deepening recession after years of austerity being imposed under the EU bailout plan. Greece has been dependent on bailout funds from international rescue loans approved by the troika of international creditors - the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) - since May 2010. The Greek economy is in its sixth year of recession due to fiscal mismanagement resulting in tax rises and spending cuts.