Alder sees the number of people without money and hunger growing: ‘There is so much despair’

Age decided in 2015 to create a page and a Facebook page, I go to bed hungry, where people in his hometown of Apeldoorn and the surrounding area can offer their leftovers and groceries, and to which people living in poverty can respond.

Dozens of Facebook users offer food there every day. Like last night: ‘I still have the casserole back, whoever is interested can pick it up tonight, it’s for one person’, with a picture of the meal and an address on the back.

Harder than ever

The group now has more than 700 members, and numbers have grown “faster than ever” in recent weeks, Age said. Last year he still averaged five to ten entries a month, now according to the Age there are about ten to twenty-five entries a week. “I knew for seven years that there was a lot of poverty, but now it’s really crazy.”

“In the past, it was mainly people who earned just a few euros too much to qualify for help from the Food Bank, but now there are also people on middle incomes. They only have 1600 euros a month, but still say: “Age, I can can’t handle it anymore.”

Where else?

More and more people are following the example of Age Karrenbelt or have been doing the same for a long time: anyone who searches Facebook for ‘I go to bed hungry’ will not only come across the Ages page, which is intended for people in Apeldoorn and the surrounding area, as well as other similar groups.

Administrators are particularly active in Belgium: such as ‘No hunger in bed: Ekeren’, for people living in the Belgian Ekeren and surrounding areas, Tongeren also has a similar page: No hunger in bed: Tongeren and also for people in Zonhoven and the peoples in Walcheren has created Facebook groups.

In the Netherlands, the Limburg municipality of Stein has a few hundred members on its own side, and since Mad om is active in the Hoevelaken, Nijkerk and Amersfoort regions. The similar site in Oss, Eten Over Oss, has more than a thousand members and for people in Drachten and the surrounding area there is the Food Sharing site.

Alder does what he can. “It’s never enough, I always have to disappoint people. Then I have fifteen entries for five packages. But the selection is now a bit on autopilot. I give everyone a chance to respond and choose the people who don’t meet the criteria for a long time. ” tour or people with small children.”

He calls running the Facebook group and collecting food ‘a small effort’. And yes, it takes time, and yes, sometimes the whole living room is full of groceries, ‘to the ceiling’, and then his sons shout ‘Dad, what have you brought home’, but it gives him energy. Alder suspects it will get even busier as Christmas approaches, so he gears up, but with love. “I can’t save the whole world, but I can make sure that dozens of people living nearby go to bed without hunger.”

Age decided in 2015 to create a page and a Facebook page, I go to bed hungry, where people in his hometown of Apeldoorn and the surrounding area can offer their leftovers and groceries, and to which people living in poverty can respond.

Dozens of Facebook users offer food there every day. Like last night: ‘I still have the casserole back, whoever is interested can pick it up tonight, it’s for one person’, with a picture of the meal and an address on the back.

Harder than ever

The group now has more than 700 members, and numbers have grown “faster than ever” in recent weeks, Age said. Last year he still averaged five to ten entries a month, now according to the Age there are about ten to twenty-five entries a week. “I knew for seven years that there was a lot of poverty, but now it’s really crazy.”

“In the past, it was mainly people who earned just a few euros too much to qualify for help from the Food Bank, but now there are also people on middle incomes. They only have 1600 euros a month, but still say: “Age, I can can’t handle it anymore.”

It started with a simple text, seven years ago, from his eldest son. “Dad, I’m not eating at home tonight.” Age Karrenbelt (52) had just cooked for him and his two sons. “I wanted to freeze the leftovers first, but there were already so many containers in the freezer that I decided to put it on a Facebook page where people offer things for free. I got so many reactions. I was shocked. Is this really happening in Netherlands?”

‘It happens to you’

Age offered another bowl of food a few days later. And again: dozens of reactions. Dozens of people without money but hungry. “Then I realized: there really are a lot of people who go to bed with a growling stomach.”

It also involuntarily reminded him of his own situation: When Age was 41 and his children were 12 and 15, his wife died. Her kidneys stopped working, her body exhausted, Age became a single father and widower overnight and lost his job six months later. “Suddenly I was standing in front of the Food Bank. I really experienced then: poverty happens to you.”

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