Food aid queue in Palma. | Miquel À. Cañellas

The Red Cross, the church charity Caritas, and the Food Bank in Mallorca are all anticipating high demand for food aid this autumn and winter.

Despite what has been a relatively successful tourism season, the Red Cross say that demand has in any event been way higher than it was in pre-pandemic 2019. The number of people that the Red Cross assisted over the first six months of 2022 was up 90% compared with January to June 2019. This amounted to 1,165 people who requested cards that are used to purchase basic necessities in supermarkets. "Looking at the data for the first half, we anticipate that demand will be much higher over the second half of the year."

In Palma, the town hall has increased its budget for urgent financial aid. Up to August this year, 4,523,913 euros were allocated, 54% more than for the same period of 2019. However, the deputy mayor for welfare, Antoni Noguera, attributes this to the fact that the town hall has broadened its categories of aid and has lowered the requirements to benefit from it. Because of this, Noguera doesn't feel that demand will shoot up in the autumn. In the event that it does, he stresses that the town hall has the finance to cope.

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At Caritas, they believe that once the tourism season contracts end, there will be an increase in the number of people requesting help - not only for food, but also for rent payments, utilities' bills and school materials.

Although the tourism season has been pretty decent, there are more people experiencing financial difficulties in Mallorca. The Red Cross put the growth in demand for aid down to inflation, chronic vulnerability and low-wage jobs.

The Food Bank estimates that demand will increase by 20% once the season ends. Its president, Raimundo de Montis, says that there has already a 15% increase in demand this month compared with September 2021. For Montis, the explanation is simple - the rise in prices. As one example, he notes that 1,000 euros could buy 1,000 litres of sunflower oil a year ago; it's now 300 litres. Milk is 22% more expensive than a year ago, beef 20%, lamb 19%, cereals and derivatives also 19%.