Food bank Altena sees more applications: ‘Put the feeling of shame aside and use it’

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ALTENA • There are thousands of people living in our country who cannot support themselves. Many are dependent on help from the food bank. But the latter is sometimes a (too) high threshold for many people. Also in our region.

“There are many citizens who find it difficult to come to us. There is a lot of anxiety. I always say you are not alone; put the shame aside and use it.” Hans Keller, chairman of the Altena Food Bank Foundation, is only too happy to encourage people who are experiencing financial difficulties to grab the opportunity that the food bank offers them with both hands.

Every week, more than sixty volunteers in the annex of Het Zand in Sleeuwijk are busy filling bags full of food. “For example, 95 packages will be made again this week. We fill 284 mouths”, says Hans Keller. “The packages are picked up at our address in Sleeuwijk, and for the people who cannot come to Sleeuwijk, our van drives through Land van Heusden and Altena to deliver the products.”

More ‘customers’
The food banks are getting more and more ‘customers’. It is a hard fact that the need in our society is increasing. Groceries are getting more and more expensive, energy costs are skyrocketing and more. Many citizens do not manage on their income. The food banks in our country believe that no one should go hungry. They try to help many people by distributing surplus food. With this type of aids, no food is thrown away, which is also good for the environment.

Last resort
The food bank is the last resort for many who live below the poverty line. “The number using the food bank is also increasing in our region,” says Keller. “There is also a larger number of refugees, but unfortunately many state pensioners also have to rely on us. I really fear for the future. Hopefully we can continue to help people.”

The supply must then keep pace. Help is currently coming from various sides. To help businesses, institutions, governments and individuals with money, food and services. However, the supply can become violent due to the ever-increasing demand, warns Keller.

Rising costs
So the big question is: will supply of goods (food) keep pace with demand? Another problem is the increasing costs that Food Bank Altena itself has to bear. “The things we have to buy are getting more and more expensive, and don’t forget our energy and fuel costs,” Keller points out.

Need more food and money
They are of course very happy with the donations in the Food Bank Altena, with the collections held in the churches and with the goods delivered. In short: beautiful. “But to keep doing the same thing, we need more food and money,” says Keller. The president hopes not to be a voice crying in the wilderness. Also hope the whole food sector takes it up.

excess products
He also asks for support from other quarters. He cites an example. “We would like people with vegetable gardens to also bring their surplus produce to us. Fresh from the country. No, it doesn’t have to be preserving jars or homemade jam. It is not allowed due to hygiene regulations.” Of course, more donations in any form are welcome.

Sixty volunteers
More than sixty volunteers are ready to help at the Altena Food Bank every week. Rolling up the sleeves already starts on Wednesday with the collection of goods from the regional distribution centre. The packages will then be prepared on Thursday. “It is a pleasure to see so many volunteers at work”, Keller is proud of his volunteers who are so committed to their fellow man.

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