The Gran Recogida foodbank drive goes virtual due to the pandemic

Veteran Bancosol volunteer José María Ramos at the warehouse.
Veteran Bancosol volunteer José María Ramos at the warehouse. / S. SALAS
  • The number of people in need in Malaga province has increased considerably this year and Bancosol is asking for financial donations in order to provide food

At this time of year supermarket shoppers normally see volunteers asking people if they would contribute items for the food banks in the province, so nobody goes without at Christmas. This year, with the pandemic, is rather different. Aware of the need to reduce physical contact, Bancosol has moved this 'Gran Recogida' online, so that people can donate money which will be used to buy food for those in need.

"People can be sure that every céntimo we receive will be used for this purpose and that people in need will receive a food pack," says Diego Vázquez, the president of the Bancosol food bank association.

In Malaga province, 50,528 people are now in need of help from the food bank every month, up from 46,350 at this time last year. That is the equivalent of filling La Rosaleda football stadium, plus another 20,000 standing outside.

This year, instead of the normal two-day campaign, the Gran Recogida is lasting for a week from 16 to 22 November. The aim is to raise 700,000 euros to buy 1,200,000 kilos of food, especially vegetable oil, pulses, tinned food and milk, which are the items most needed.

Last year people in Malaga province donated more than 600,000 kilos of foods for the Gran Recogida, but now that more people are suffering financial problems as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot more food is needed. Bancosol says the situation is critical.

"Every single person we help has a name. We are not going to look away. We have to keep fighting to make sure that these families can at least meet their basic food needs," says Vázquez.

So far this year the food banks in the province have given out more than 5,500,000 kilos of foods. Bancosol is asking people to spread the word among their contacts, and ask them to make a donation, no matter how small.