The Algarve Network for Families in Need response to the pandemic

in Peoples page · 09-10-2020 01:00:00 · 1 Comments

The group has existed for a number of years but when the pandemic hit and more specifically the lockdown, a rapid response was needed as tens of thousands of people were in a situation where they had no money and no food.

For example, many seasonal workers had suddenly realised that the work they thought they would be returning to after the winter had disappeared. These people work for a minimum wage and have no reserves to cover any period of unemployment. They run up debts in the winter and work unforgiving hours in the summer to pay off their debts. Equally affected were the self-employed who depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Again, many of these have no work in the winter.

At the time we had no idea that the problem was going to be so widespread. But clearly the Network needed to change to meet the demand. For this reason, we launched our food appeal, collecting food at a variety of points across the Algarve and accepting donations as offered. We would then distribute to families who were without an income. At the most difficult time (April, May, June) we were sending out food for approximately 1500 people per week, fortunately this currently stands at 400 as some people have managed to find some work through the summer whilst others have begun to receive state aid.

Our biggest fear is that the demand will increase greatly through the coming six months as tourism is again decreasing and with it the work available. To date we have helped about 5500 people including adults and children. These have ranged from those who have needed a one-off supply of food to see them through a few weeks while they sorted out alternative supplies to those who have required a weekly/fortnightly supply throughout this very difficult period.

We have distributed food from Aljezur to Faro. We have six hubs from which we distribute, each with a lead person with their own volunteers. As well as the food hubs we temporarily had a non- food centre based at Odiaxere Football club where anyone in need could visit to get clothes, bedding, baby equipment and so much more, all donated and totally free to whomever needed them.

There are some moments I can‘t forget - grown adults crying in front of me because I am giving them food, the heartfelt despair of others not knowing how they are going to feed their families, the messages of gratitude received from families which we have helped and which are totally undeserved as we are only doing what humanity dictates. It’s hard to make any sort of sense out of the current situation. I have never known anything like it in my life.

In addition, East Algarve Families in Need (Pink Flamingo Croquet and Social Club) a separate but parallel group were giving food from VRSA to Tavira / São Brás de Alportel. Whilst this service was suspended for a couple of months through the summer, it will recommence shortly.

All the food given out has been attained through donations.


I am from Portimao ,please here can I pick up this help,please because I need. Thanks

By Cristiane from Algarve on 13-10-2020 05:13
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