All ages are being encouraged to help the effort as volunteers. F. Gonzalez
The date of the ‘Gran Recogida’ (in English,the great gathering), the largest collective charitable event yet see in Malaga province, is fast approaching.
With the support of the Fundación La Caixa, it is hoped that the area’s food bank, Bancosol, will be replenished with 150,000 kilos of food donated by Malagueños on 30th November and 1st December. 1,500 families should benefit from the expected donations.
In order for the carefully planned campaign to reach its goal, those responsible for its success have already gained the participation of many collaborators and companies, including 15 supermarket chains.
However none of the meticulous organisation means anything without an army of volunteers. Their role, in informing Malagueños while they’re out shopping of what they need to do to donate, is vital. And the Gran Recogida needs 1,500 of them.
At the moment there are 1,200 volunteers already signed up. Most of these work for the numerous NGOs involved. But now the hard push for further recruitment has spread to Malaga’s schools, colleges and businesses.
When he went to talk to students at his old school, San Estanislao, campaign representative and head of volunteers Jamie Gutiérrrez del Álamo didn’t pull his punches.
“Bancosol helped feed 24,000 people in need in 2008. Now there are 55,000 on our books and if we add in those who benefit from donations collected by Cáritas and the Red Cross, it makes 150,000 Malagueños who can’t afford to eat - or one in every ten people from the province”, he told the students, adding that the profile of those in need had changed during the crisis and many were those who had previously been in work and able to feed their families.
His words had an immediate effect. “I’m going to participate”, said 17 year old Julia Ariño. Her friends Cira Villar and María Padilla agreed. “We didn’t know so many people in Malaga were in this situation. We really have to do something”.
Between 120 and 150 pupils and teachers from San Estanislao have signed up to help with the Gran Recogida and will cover much of the eastern part of Malaga city.
More volunteers - not only students but people from whatever walk of life - are still needed. Gutiérrez del Álamo stresses that the areas in the province most lacking in voluntary participants are Mijas and Fuengirola.