Several ask for food assistance

foodMatsentralen Trondheim.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix
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The organizations that distribute free food report increased demand. Both single parents and laid-off, foreign workers are among those now asking for help.

NTB has conducted a call round to food centers and organizations that distribute food around the country. They announce new faces and new names on the lists – and they are preparing for more.

– “We tend to get 15-16 new people every month. Now we get the same number every day,” says Irene Mathisen, who heads the Salvation Army Slum Station in Oslo.

Most of them are EU citizens who have been laid off waiting to receive unemployment benefits or need help applying for it. Meanwhile, their bank accounts and fridges are empty.

– “There are long queues at the Nav offices. All PCs for the public have been removed due to contagion. Then there will be bottlenecks,” Mathisen tells NTB.

Many exhibit HSE cards that show that they work in the construction industry. This group is often without family in Norway, but Mathisen is also concerned about families with children and single parents. Fathers with children have shown up at the food trucks that usually distribute food to the addicted and homeless.

– “Now we are really worried about single parents,” Mathisen says.

On the border
The small congregation, Vineyard in Trondheim, has for a long time helped mostly single parents. Now the need is increasing, says Pastor Signy Margrete Hefley. They receive food from the Food Center, which they distribute to those who request it.

– “We have seen an increase. Those who have made contact are parents who have been given food before, but have moved on. Now they need help again,” she says.

The reason is often that they have been laid off or have lost their jobs.

– “They are at the line where they may be able to make it on their own. It’s not a complete cut, they are receiving unemployment money, but it’s less than the salary they had,” she points out.

This week there are eight families who have received food from Vineyard. Hefley says they would like to help more, but lacks the capacity to deliver.

Fear of poverty
Kirkens Bymisjon and the Salvation Army also distribute food in Trondheim, and many of the recipients are addicted. General Manager Odd Anders With at Kirkens Bymisjon in Trondheim fears this group will increase, and says he recognizes the signs of it.

– “I’m sure more people will struggle with addiction, as a result of anxiety and mental illness because they worry about their own and the family’s finances,” he says.

He warns of a daunting wave of poverty.

– “The government measures have so far helped the weak groups in society too little. This applies to those who have addiction challenges and those who are unemployed. Then there are those who neither have jobs nor rights at Nav,” says With.

He specifically points to seasonal workers and others who do not have a permanent job, who are not entitled to unemployment benefits from Nav and who often do not have insurance schemes. He is also concerned about students. With believes cash support is needed to save people who are now in urgent need of money.

More in TromsøYes, there are several who are contacting us, is the clear answer from Tromsø Matsentral’s CEO Geir Arne Skogeng Nordstrand.

– “I can not say who they are, but we deliver food to people other than those we usually see as normal. There can be various reasons. It may be that we deliver to people who are in quarantine, or that we are at the very beginning of seeing the consequences of layoffs,” he says.

He estimates that they usually supply food to over a thousand people. He believes there will be a sharp increase in the need in the future, but is optimistic.

– “I hope we will see people come back to work,” he says.

The organization Heart for Sandnes, which distributes food to hundreds of people in the neighboring municipality of Stavanger, has so far not noticed any increase in demand, but is preparing for an increase.

“As of now, they are the same guests, but I believe that after Easter the layoff round will increase the need for others,” says coordinator Torgeir Rovik Larsen.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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1 Comment on "Several ask for food assistance"

  1. This is just the beginning

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