Some 2,600 food parcels were distributed during the 3rd food distribution operation organised at les Vernets ice rink. Launched following an appeal from la Caravane de Solidarité and supported by both les Colis du Cœur and Partage, the operation is coordinated by the City of Geneva. This record number of parcels is accompanied by another, more gratifying, figure – that of the number of contributors.
No fewer than 1,511 donors, including institutions, foundations, associations, local authorities, wholesalers, small-scale retailers and hundreds of anonymous private citizens who are increasingly aware of the precarious situation some people find themselves in, contributed to the parcels. Despite the record demand, everyone received a parcel. “It is a quite amazing show of solidarity,” states the Councillor responsible for Social Cohesion and Solidarity, Esther Alder, who thanked not only the donors but also the numerous volunteers willing to support the movement. The organisation on site and the logistical services provided by the City were once again adjusted in order to accelerate the flows, without for all that diverting attention away from the people themselves, and in particular the increasingly numerous families with young children, the social information and health prevention.
Some 900 parcels more than last Saturday
A total of 2,600 parcels compared to 1,683 one week ago, hundreds of packages with food specially for babies and all provided thanks to a constant flow of donors yesterday in les Vernets. Some 200 volunteers were involved in the operation. Some worked late into the night to turn the donations into parcels. Some examples:
- nurses from the HUG collected a large amount of food and baby products;
- major distributors (in particular Migros, Manor, Aligro and Procter & Gamble) supplied basic food and hygiene products to complement the bags provided by Partage;
- municipalities – in particular Anières and Vésenaz – collected donations from their residents;
- the Rotary Club of Geneva, the Sésame Foundation and schools also contributed to the distribution;
- like last week, the market gardeners of Geneva added to the distribution of basic food with a parcel of fresh produce;
- thanks to the contribution of a local baker, fresh bread was provided for the first time;
- it should once again be noted that numerous donations enabled la Caravane de Solidarité to make additional purchases in order to provide any food that was missing.
Numerous volunteers helped the municipal services and associative partners involved so that the operation went off without a hitch. In addition to distributing the parcels, the volunteers accompany the beneficiaries during the long wait in the queue which at one point stretched as far back as la Jonction. The volunteers are there to help old people or pregnant women or to provide information on the social aid available. Social workers, supported by volunteers, answer questions in numerous languages. The difficulties most frequently raised by the beneficiaries include insurances, medical costs and late rent payments. For these people, this food aid is a welcome boost to help them cope with the coming week.
An additional 811 people registered with les Colis du cœur
Pierre Philippe, Director of les Colis du Cœur, is concerned by the growing number of new faces collecting the parcels distributed. “This is proof that the assistance currently in place is not reaching everyone that needs it.” It should be noted that 811 new families registered this Saturday in the database run by les Colis du cœur. Next week, like the 9,300 already registered, they will receive a voucher of between 50 and 150 francs (depending on the size of the household). The Director of la Caravane, Silvana Mastromatteo, has also noted with dismay this weakly increase in people attending the distribution operations. “We must think about how to grow the movement together with all the partners, both public and associative.”
Top-level political debate
Esther Alder notes that “the City has taken action to address this humanitarian crisis. Beyond increased awareness, the debate must now be addressed in the political sphere at both cantonal and national level so that the right to eat and the social rights of each individual within the territory are recognised.”
Article modifié le 16.05.2020 à 17:06