Thousands Greeks queue day in, day out for a free meal, a slice of bread and a bottle of water at the soup kitchens organized by charity organisations. While until recently the majority of the needy queueing for free meals were homeless, drug addicts and illegal immigrants, the picture changed in recent months: Standing in line there are are unpaid employees, pensioners and unemployed of all ages. Yes, the economic crisis and the recession hit first of all the underprivilied ones. And soon, they ring the bell of your own door….
An exclusive report by newspaper Proto Thema.
“Compared to last year, there is an increase of 20% in people coming for our free meals. The soup kitchens from the Municipality of Athens and the Church serve daily about 2,500 people, ” told PT Giorgos Apostolopoulos, chairman of the Centre for Solidarity with the Homelessness of the City of Athens. And stressed that the situation ies expected to worsen in the coming months.
“The state must act immediately. We are currently in need of goods, not in need of money. Those who have must finally think of those who don’t. The needy are going to be soon much too many” said Apostolopoulos.
Among those seeking a free meal per day is Dimitris, 36, who works at a company that collects overdue payments in the name of the banks. Dimitris has been unpaid for seven months. He tells Proto Thema:
“OK, I still have my job, but I don’t get paid. We are waiting for the merger of Eurobank and Alpha Bank. I was financially OK until seven months ago. I had my salary. Now I seek free meals. I can not do otherwise. My sister is unemployed and my mother is pensioner, there is not enough money for all. I think the banking sector will eventually recover, however it remains to be seen whether they cheat on us. I do not think I’m in dire situation yet. There are others in much worse economical situation than me … “
Nikos, 46, unemployed since four months. His last job: employee at a security company. He came to Athens from Agrinio in Western Greece, seeking better job opportunities.
“I’ve done many jobs in my life. And I worked construction, and I dj. In recent years, worked in a company security guard. They started with salary cuts and they continued with layoffs. From one day to the next, I found myself on the street. Not only I have nothing to eat, I also have no home to stay. I’m looking everywhere for work and can not find anything. Just occationally one-day jobs. When I have a job, I don’t come here. We need to understand and make clear, you should not come here and eat the food of somebody else in worse situation than yours.
Christos, 49, unemployed. His last work: Assistant at TV sets. He got recently evicted from the flat he was renting with two months rent due.
“Suddenly I was without work. Because I have a partial disability I receive 300 euro per month social aid. With this money you can’t rent a home. The owner of the last flat kicked me out because I had no money to pay him. Now I live on the streets and I survive only through these free meals”.
Source: Proto Thema Online
Yes, the economic crisis and the recession hit first of all the underprivilied ones. And soon, they ring the bell of your own