HUNGARY: Volunteers collect food for families
Caritas, with the Salesian Parish in Kazincbarcika, participates in national food drive
(MissionNewswire) Caritas, with the Salesian Parish in Kazincbarcika, Hungary, recently participated in a food collection drive to help poor families. In the lead up to Christmas, the Hungarian Food Bank held a national food collection program on Nov. 27-29 that brought together 6,000 volunteers who reached out to families, mostly those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 160 villages and towns, 250 collection points were set up, and customers in shops and supermarkets were encouraged to buy extra food items to donate. Volunteers were able to donate 50,000 packages to families in need. Collaborating with a local supermarket, the Caritas team supported the cause and helped those who struggle to put food on the table. Volunteer students from St. Francis de Sales Secondary School and Irinyi János Technical School collaborated with the Caritas team on this effort.
The food collection comes at a significant period when many families have been out of work for months due to the pandemic and needs have risen across Hungary. “It was nice to see so many benefactors wanting to give a contribution and show their generosity, especially because many have faced difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a Caritas representative.
This has not been the only support Salesians have provided in Kazincbarcika. In April, Don Bosco Barcika Tanoda, the study center for Roma people, expanded its mission beyond education to start taking care of families and children in need during the pandemic. Mariann Molnár, the coordinator of the center, noted that in addition to keeping in touch with poor children and their families, enormous efforts have been made to provide them with online education, basic necessities, food and disinfectants.
The World Bank notes that the number of people living in poverty in Hungary is at an all-time low, but the country still has one of the highest poverty rates in the European Union at 12.3 percent in 2019. Even with the falling poverty rates, many youth feel like they have no future in the country. According to a report by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, about half of people between the ages of 19 and 30 would like to work abroad.
Housing prices have soared by an average of 31 percent over the past three years in the country, causing more families to fall into debt. About 44 percent of Hungarians cannot afford basic resources.
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World Bank – Hungary