Baby food!

When he saw the shopper coming up to them with a bag full of little jars, he couldn't help but cry out: “Baby food! Just wait 'til my mums see those.” It was a young volunteer who looked like he was with a group of friends or schoolmates holding a shopping trolley that was slowly filling up, although perhaps more slowly than they would have liked. It was last year's 'Día de la Gran Recogida' (great food bank collection day) and there were plenty more like them stationed across the local supermarkets.

Baby food! The boy took that donation with cries of joy, in contrast to the shyness and half-hearted smiles of other volunteers in charge of collecting packets of rice and lentils and cartons of milk. It's always easier to ask when it's not for you and when it's to help stop a neighbour going hungry.

On hearing that cry, which I still can to this day, I didn't give a second thought to how much sadness was behind the joy of collecting a gift that could only go to a baby. A local baby, Malagueño or immigrant, that didn't have their basic needs covered, despite us being in the so-called first world.

Baby food! The Gran Recogida that will take place this year on 1 and 2 December faces several challenges that could make the difference between eating well or badly for many people over the coming months.

Firstly, the general feeling that the financial crisis is over. Even if that is partly true, it's a sobering thought that Bancosol food bank says that some 49,000 local people still rely on them to survive.

Then there's the need to fight against those who are bored and feel they've done enough to help in previous years.

And of course, not forgetting those who're able to give something for the first time but who think the problem is already sorted.

To everyone who has nothing better to do over those coming two days, I have just two little words to say to you: Baby food!