STAFF REPORTER THE economic crisis and the ever-increasing rate of unemployment continues to take its toll, including in the Balearics. No one is more aware of how the less privileged in the Islands are being affected than the Balearic Food Bank which over the past three months has registered a 78 percent rise in the number of people seeking primary foodstuffs.

Last year, the organisation handed out essential food to associations representing some 13'900 people but the figure has meanwhile rocketed to 24'600. “Although demand was growing through 2008, as of December last year, it has shot up with 18 new organisations - many of them immigrants - asking help from us,” said the President of the Food Bank, Manuel Marco yesterday. “The problem which we are now facing,” he added “is that the demand is growing but it is not being met by an increasing supply.” Marco didn't know how long the Bank was going to be able to continue making its customary deliveries of 600 kilos of food a week. He said that there's a real shortage of basic foods such as milk, rice, vegetables and pasta. As a result, the associations are receiving smaller quantities as time goes on and a decision may have to be made about which organisations will be cut from the delivery list altogether.