Among those who seek food from Foodbank Lifeline Foundation at St Andrew’s Church in Valletta, are many elderly Maltese women, Christina Lejman, a volunteer from the Foundation told Paul Cachia during Follow Up on RTK 103FM.
Lejman who has been a volunteer with the foundation for the past four years, explained that at the beginning few to none sought the services offered by the foodbank, however over the past few months they have seen an increase in those coming in during a time of crisis. She explained that while some of their clients are refugees and migrants, it is mostly elderly women who are not receiving maximum pension that are seeking out their help.
Every week the Foundation prepares some 100 packs of food to be distributed to those who turn up at their premises in Valletta. The packs help on average some 350-450 individuals a week, as the clients vary from individuals to families. Speaking about how individuals end up in such situations, Lejman mentioned a few examples, such as the death of the sole breadwinner, cases of illness, separations which lead to the sole breadwinner leaving the family, among other examples.
The Foodbank volunteer also explained that despite the common belief that everyone owns their own house in Malta, there exists a group of vulnerable people who do not own their own houses.
How can one seek help from the Foodbank?
Lejman explained that while the Foodbank accepts drop-ins, those seeking the foodbank assistance over a period of time require a letter from their social worker. Lejman explained that the foodbank lacks the ability to help in the long-term, thus one can get a reference letter and be entitled to six visits to the foodbank, a renewal can also be obtained, however the maximum amount is of 12 visits to the foodbank. In such cases when all 12 visits are used, the cases are then referred to other entities.
Foodbank Lifeline Foundation is set to open three new centres in the coming week.