Conflicts & War

Protest in Buenos Aires over lack of food at soup kitchens

Buenos Aires, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- The members of several social organizations protested on Thursday in front of the Buenos Aires City Hall to denounce the lack of food at local soup kitchens, a situation that – they said – has gotten worse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The demonstrators said that the weight of each portion of food provided to the hungry has been reduced, and thus less meat is being made available and soup has been taken off the menu altogether.

“The issue of marketing, the issue of food, with the quantity having gone down significantly, has reduced the quality. Before, at least we received a chicken that weighed 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds), but now they’re weighing 1.5 kg (3.3 lb.) maximum,” Alejandra Lores, with the Corriente Clasista Combativa de la Villa 21-24 movement, told EFE.

Her group is demanding that the authorities provide more funding for the soup kitchens to cover basic necessities, such as purchasing cooking gas, since the current subsidy of 40,000 pesos (about $432) “is not enough.”

In addition, the groups are emphasizing the added risk their work entails amid the pandemic, a period during which several of the members of many organizations operating in the capital’s poorest neighborhoods have died from Covid-19.

“The city government thinks that the pandemic is over, but it’s not. In fact, we’re doubling our security so that our workers are safer, because a renewed outbreak is occurring. It just can’t be that the government is deaf, short-sighted and is cutting back … on the soup kitchens that are working in the neighborhoods,” Sheina Gomze, a member of Barrios de Pie, told EFE.

Given the lack of supplies, she and her colleagues are emphasizing that they are organizing “crisis committees” and calling for individual solidarity, although that’s “not enough.”

“We’re in an economic crisis and a pandemic that nobody expected, and regardless of the good will that one has it’s not enough. We need the city government to take charge of the matter and do what it has to do because just the good will of the workers who are at the kitchens 24 hours a day is not enough,” Gomez added.

The capital’s Human Development and Habitat Ministry, headed by opposition figure Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, says that they will continue moving forward with their food security policies, “guaranteeing the supply of fresh and dry foods to the network of community soup kitchens.”

“We maintain that there was no cutback in the delivery of food to the kitchens. The one-off event that some community kitchens are emphasizing is not about a reduction in rations but rather that there was a change in the menu. The summer menu is being delivered, which in some cases could weigh less. Its food content has the same nutritional value as the winter menu,” the ministry said in a statement sent to EFE.


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