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Vegetables on display in a supermarket. Food banks are non-profit organizations that collect food from supermarkets and farmers, which would otherwise be destroyed, and distribute to the needy for free / Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

More and more people going to food banks in Germany

The number of users of food banks (Lebensmitteltafel) in Germany rose by ten per cent in the past year to currently 1.65 million people. Food banks (Tafel) are non-profit organizations that collect food mostly from supermarkets, distributors and farmers, which would otherwise be destroyed, and distribute to the needy for free.

Among the groups patronising food banks, elderly persons show the highest increase last year. The 20 per cent increase in the number of senior citizens going to food banks is particularly dramatic, said Jochen Brühl, the chairman of the Federal Association of Food Banks in Germany (Bundesverband Tafel Deutschland), on Wednesday in Berlin.

Completely unacceptable is also the increase of children and adolescents who seek food support, he added. Nearly 50,000 more young people, an increase of ten percent, are dependent on food support. Overall, the proportion of children and adolescents is 30 per cent of Tafel users.

After long-term unemployment, low pensions are the second most common reason for going to a food bank. “Old-age poverty will overrun us in the coming years with great force,” warned the chairman of Tafel Deutschland.

At the same time, the 500,000 children and adolescents currently in need are growing into the “poor pensioners of tomorrow”, he said. It shows ever more clearly, that even poverty is inherited, said Brühl.

On the other hand, the number of refugees using food banks has fallen by six per cent, the organisation revealed.

“The issue of poverty needs solution-oriented proposals and has to be placed at the top of the political agenda,” demanded the head of Tafel Deutschland.

Nationwide, there are currently 947 food banks with 60,000 employees, 90 per cent of whom are volunteers.

The first food bank in Germany was founded 26 years ago in Berlin.

Austin Ohaegbu

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