Friday, 17 November 2023, 13:18
With bags of enthusiasm, energy and the will to make it happen. This is how Diego Vázquez, Bancosol's president, confesses to feeling in the countdown to the Gran Recogida across Malaga province. The president and the entire food bank workforce recently held a gala to celebrate their 25th anniversary at which they recognised the community groups, companies and institutions that have supported them in this essential work.
What is it that they do? Put simply, they give food to those who don't have it. On the 24 and 25 of this month the people of Malaga province will have the chance to show their support and to donate whatever they can via bank transfer, Bizum or at supermarket checkouts to Bancosol, so they can distribute food to more than 40,000 people across the province.
Last year's totals were not as expected due to inflation. Around 550,000 euros were collected - half a million less than the previous year. This year they hope to raise 700,000 euros during the Gran Recogida.
This is a rather special year...
Exactly, this is a very important year for Bancosol which marks 25 years of service to the most vulnerable. Bancosol has been and will be here to help with people's problems.
The countdown has already begun for the Gran Recogida.
The 24 and 25 November are our biggest collection days for the whole year. Now we are dealing with volunteer training as everything has changed since Covid, including our collection method. At that time it was unthinkable to have 4,000 volunteers going out to collect bags of donations and so we did it all through fundraising. Previously with physical collections there were products like milk that were already out of stock by the new year. With this new method we have goods throughout the year.
Will volunteer numbers increase this year?
We will continue to have similar numbers as before, the total being between 4,000 and 4,100. What I do want to do is appeal for more volunteers in the areas of Velez-Málaga, Rincón de la Victoria and Mijas. I encourage everyone who can to dedicate just a few hours on the 24 and 25 for those who are having a hard time, whatever you can, even if only two hours, three...
Anything new on the cards for the Gran Recogida this year?
No, everything remains much the same. This year though, we have to give even more of ourselves because aid from FEAD (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived) ends this year and that means that we have two million kilos less food. That is why I ask the people of Malaga to continue contributing what they can to bring relief to these people who are going through a bad period in their lives. We have all kinds of people. In recent years the profile has changed a lot and people who had a comfy life have had it snatched away from them and they are going through a very tough time. Today we look after 169 social support groups and 47,209 end-users, of which 14,077 are children.
Is the donation process still the same?
Yes, this is the fourth year of fundraising for hard cash. We no longer collect bags of food, now you can donate at the supermarket checkout, or by making a direct transfer to either of these two accounts (ES41 2103 0262 9500 3001 6299 and ES44 2100 8688 7702 0011 6290) or via Bizum (00887). This campaign model is the best solution, as I said before, we buy food according to need. Nowadays we have a whole series of items such as fresh fish, fresh meat... as well as ready meals, of which last year we distributed more than 1,050,000 portions and so far this 2023, as of September, we have handed out more than 1,023,000 dishes and more than three million kilos of food.
Last year saw a big drop in the total collected for Gran Recogida.
Last year we collected around 580,000 euros, somewhat foreseeable what with inflation and all the troubles in society. Those who previously donated 50 euros can now only donate 10... But hey, this year we are hopeful of reaching 700,000 euros and I am sure that, with the kind-heartedness of the people of Malaga province, we can make up for the shortfall from FEAD.
What message would you send to the people of Malaga to encourage them to donate?
I will never grow tired of saying that the people of Malaga province have a great sense of charity, no one beats us in that regard. We want everyone to contribute whatever they can. We need volunteers especially in the areas of Mijas, Vélez-Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria. Those who donate should also know that their donations are tax-deductible if they send us the paperwork. I'd also tell them that we go through three audits every year and that every euro, from the first to the last, is dedicated exclusively to the purchase of food.
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