News / Europe

More Greeks Use Soup Kitchens as Economy Worsens

More Greeks Use Soup Kitchens as Economy Worsensi
|| 0:00:00
X
Dominic Laurie
June 21, 2012 6:19 PM
As Greece approaches five years of recession, the number of its citizens unable to provide food for themselves is increasing. Soup kitchens in Athens used to be the preserve of undocumented immigrants and the homeless, but now more people from the general population use them too. Dominic Laurie reports from Athens.
Dominic Laurie
ATHENS - As Greece approaches five years of recession, the number of its citizens unable to provide food for themselves is increasing.  Soup kitchens in Athens used to be the preserve of undocumented immigrants and the homeless, but now more people from the general population use them too.  

It's just before lunchtime.  Bowls of hot pasta are being made up for more than a hundred children.  But this is not a school.  It's a facility run by the municipality of Athens to feed those who can no longer afford to feed themselves.  More and more Athenians are coming here - especially pensioners, and families with children.

It's run by George Apostolopolos and a team of volunteers.  And though money from the city government has been sufficient so far, he's not sure how long that will continue.

"We are afraid about the future because we don't know about the next day - that is the biggest problem we have, it is a little unknown the future, we try to do the best," Apostolopolos said.

Earlier, before the television cameras showed up, the courtyard was full of adults of all ages lining up for food.  But filming the event was not allowed.  Many people don't want their families to know they are here.

But, two soup kitchen users agreed to speak about their situations.

Christos says he had a good life until a few years ago.  He lost both his parents, then had a serious car crash.  He took drugs to ease the pain from the injuries, and lost his job.

"I am 48 years old. I remember 44 years of my life, maybe 43," he said. "This is the most difficult situation that I have ever seen here in Greece"

His friend Maria says she used to run a clothes shop, but then she lost her job when the crisis hit.

"So after that, I lost my home because every month i had to pay month 450 euro," she said. "So 20 days now I am homeless and I am eating here every morning 12 o'clock and 5 o'clock in the afternoon."

The offerings from facilities like these don't seem to be enough though.  Hundreds of Greeks lined up in a Central Athens park for free vegetables this week.  Farmers from Crete handed out 27 tons of egpplant, peppers, tomatoes and other produce, with the help of the local government.

"We won't solve any feeding problems, but we're starting solidarity, a display of Greek solidarity, that shows that during these times we Greeks are united," said Nikos Saprovalakis, a food company executive who was helping out.

Spiros Kalamantis was one of those lining up for a food rescue package.

"Because I have been unemployed for some years, I thought I'd get one [box] too," he said. "Because I'm unemployed. Nothing more."

More and more Greeks need a helping hand.  As unemployment rises, alongside taxes, even feeding oneself is proving hard for many. Yet another challenge for the new Greek government in its first few days in office.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid