The number of households in Minorca needing food aid since the declaration of the state of alarm has increased by 19%. Vulnerable people at risk of social exclusion receive assistance from town halls, the Council of Minorca, the Red Cross and the church Caritas charity, but this operation has had to be reinforced, with the Red Cross and Caritas supplying most of this reinforcement.
Prior to the state of alarm there were 270 needy households. By the end of March this number had risen to 321 - around 750 people. The reason was that money had run out. In Mahon, the increase was from 85 to 101; in Ciutadella from 130 to 150.
The food aid is coming from different sources - non-perishable food supplied by the European Union; a special endowment from the Council of Minorca; and Obra Social La Caixa, which is providing vouchers so that families can buy fresh products such as meat and fish and fruit and vegetables. These vouchers are being delivered every fortnight and will be at least until the end of May.
The Balearic government, for its part, has made an additional contribution of just under 50,000 euros to the guaranteed social income that Caritas is distributing to people who, for example, don't have bank accounts. It is estimated that there are up to fifty families who are in this situation. The social action coordinator for Caritas, Mar Pons, says that "it is all about ensuring that no one's basic needs are not attended to".
Caritas has launched a solidarity campaign because of the crisis, Mar Pons adding that donations and contributions are necessary because the vulnerability of families will only worsen if there is no work to be had this summer.
The Red Cross (Creu Roja), meanwhile, is serving more households with its food delivery service, especially in Alaior and Sant Lluis. Xavier Pozo, head of communications for the Red Cross in the Balearics, says that there has been a significant increase in demand, while the Red Cross is also taking care of supplying medicines from the Mateu Orfila Hospital to some fifty patients so that they don't need to go out to pharmacies.