T his time last year Sollerweb plus all major charitable contributors were concentrating on food. Locally we had a very successful ‘Go Fund Me’ which raised thousands for the Food Bank for the needs in the Soller Valley.
Yachting Gives Back burst onto the scene with their wonderful work for the hungry, including getting their young chefs to make meals to take away. Looking back on the energy of that time I am so proud of all who raised their heads above the parapet for the immediate needs of our neighbours in Mallorca.
The tales are now emerging of the quieter stories which did not reach the headlines and the people who do this work every day. Sollerweb are preparing their Christmas Appeal for the work of the Red Cross locally in our area. This is the team who have their office up a side street in the centre of our town. Their remit is wide from providing services to many who are not in the system to acting as first aiders for events.
If you are unemployed and have no benefits, because you are not in the system, how do you access a Doctor? The working population have to be paying for their healthcare through their payroll or autonomo registration. If you are unemployed for more than three months the entitlement to anything other than emergency or maternity care changes. Hence the need for a ‘Red Cross’ Doctor.
The Social Services Department at the Town Hall walk closely with the Red Cross and Caritas to provide the help our community requires. This need changes regularly depending on the work pattern and the new arrivals to our town. In our world this means that hunger, child poverty and domestic violence are part of the regular workload. Add to that the desire we all have that no child here goes without a Christmas present or has to wear shoes which no longer fit. Local people in this Valley will fill a need when they see it or live next door to it. So many stories over the years of the community helping each other.
The Pandemic encouraged those who could to give to the immediate needs of others. Many people who couldn’t work spent time cooking and making things for others to help where they could. Many of our second home friends who were not in Majorca sent money to support charitable ventures. Their comments were humbling, saying they couldn’t get here but wanted to put something in the pot for their community who were struggling.
So now what? In 2021 and going into 2022 what are the needs and how can we help? There will be jobs as soon as the season restarts and this will help, but it is not the whole story. The basic 1000 euros a month, which has been around for as long as I can remember here, is still the wage for many. Anyone earning that with a family to support is still going to need a Food Bank and rent support. They may need to use the Red Cross to fund a school trip or buy shoes for their children.
Work should be the answer to this but unless reality kicks in it will not be. There is political acknowledgement here and in the UK that the average worker will struggle and need support for a basic life if the salary structure is not addressed. Minimum wage, minimum vital wage and every scheme is tinkering round the edges will only go so far.
The idea that ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is a concept we all know well in Mallorca. We live in an unequal society amongst the wealthy, privileged and super rich and we still have a child poverty ratio of over 40%. We hear regularly from our politicians that they acknowledge this and there are discussions and conferences galore.
Meanwhile, back in Soller and in every other community on this island, the work goes on. The Red Cross and their volunteers hear stories every day enough to make you weep. They do whatever they can with the Town Hall and Caritas to watch out for the children, feed the hungry and meet immediate needs.
This is why the Sollerweb Christmas Appeal this year is for the totality of their work. It is always easier to raise money for just one cause i.e. ‘Food Bank’ but now we have to acknowledge the bigger picture.
We are grateful to the workers, the volunteers and the financial supporters of the Red Cross. If you have time to give or money to donate they will be very glad to hear from you.