Charitable organisations in the province of Malaga are reminding the public of the ongoing need to help the thousands of people sleeping rough in the region as well as those with reduced means to feed their families. The Christmas period often comes with a wave of solidarity which in turn helps volunteers provide extra support to the homeless and those in need.
Ángeles Malagueños de la Noche, a Malaga-based non-profit-making charity, supplies approximately one million meals a year to the homeless and underprivileged families. They serve over 2,500 people daily, providing them with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
On Christmas Eve the charity will offer 3,000 people a roast chicken dinner, which will be supplied by 30 local restaurants. They will also distribute food parcels to the homeless on the morning of Christmas Eve.
According to the Development Group for Homeless People in Malaga, there are more than 7,000 people sleeping rough in the province of Malaga. It is also estimated that around 40 per cent of the homeless people in Spain are foreigners, of whom 20 per cent have been living rough for more than ten years.
The Malaga branch of Bancosol, like the rest of foodbanks in Spain, makes a contribution with food to people at risk of social exclusion distributed through local charities and organisations. Its annual target is to assist 50,000 people and the recent Gran Recogida collection boosted its supplies by 600,000 kilos. Other collection campaigns continue throughout the year and members of the public are also invited to become, volunteers, members or make donations.
A Bancosol volunteer said, “Although in general people are quite openhanded at Christmas, we are asking for people to dig a little deeper this year so that everyone can enjoy a few comforts over the holidays.”
The Lux Mundi Ecumenical Centre in Fuengirola works hard to see that the local underprivileged and homeless people get at least one hot meal a week. The soup kitchen operates on a Monday and cold packed lunches are available on Thursday. The centre always offers warm clothing and blankets to those in need, and this year they will be supplying new under garments as well. The centre will also offer a special Christmas lunch on 5 January.
“Every Christmas we like to give them a present. Last year it was shoes; this year we would like to give underwear, which many don't have,” Marta Rivera of Lux Mundi explained to SUR in English.
Arte Contra el Hambre (Art against hunger) is a Torremolinos-based non-profit charity created to help people without resources through collections of food, clothing, appliances, toys and school supplies. The charity is always in need of donations and anyone wishing to contribute clothes, blankets and toiletries can deposit them in the association's charity shop, which is situated in Calle Buenos Aires in Torremolinos.
Searching for support
It is not only the charities and organisations that are doing their bit for the homeless at Christmas, for one bar owner in Montemar, Torremolinos, has been looking after the homeless of the area for the last two years.
Charlie García, who runs the Hula Tiki Lounge with her husband, went out into the streets last year with Christmas cards and food parcels for the homeless. She also collected over 80 kilos of warm clothing and blankets, which she personally distributed. However Charlie expresses her sadness at the lack of support for the homeless problem in the area
“If we could find a local charity to work with us we would love to host a free dinner on Boxing Day for the needy, however without the support to help drive people in our door it's not going to happen and it really is such a shame. I really struggled last year so we hope even just doing a little will help highlight that more needs to be done, because the problem is only getting worse,” Charlie said.