More and more Spanish citizens are being forced to turn to charities just to put food on the table. It is also becoming much more common for those on monthly salaries to have to borrow money because their earnings are no longer enough to cover both their bills and food.
In Spain, what are being called “hunger lines” have become common, first as a result of the Covid pandemic and now due to the drastic price increases following the embargo against Russia. Ordinary people are seeking help from various volunteer charities and are lining up for food, since many families can simply no longer afford to support themselves.
In the working-class area of Aluche in Madrid, the lines are long and the Mutual Aid Network is distributing around seven tons of food to residents every week. In Aluche alone, around 350 households are being assisted, but that number is expected to rise to around 400 by the end of this year.
“Some of those we are helping have no income. But we also have more and more retirees with low pensions, and people who are working but whose salary is not enough,” said the organization’s Vice President, Elena Bermejo, according to Euronews.
44-year-old Hugo Ramirez is one of those who lines up every week. Both he and his wife have jobs, but due to inflation their salaries are no longer adequate to support their three children.
“My wife works part-time with the elderly,” Ramirez told AFP. “I work as a construction worker and earn 1,200 euros a month. Our rent is around 800 euros, and our other costs are about 300 euros, plus food. It’s not enough when you get to the end of the month.”
“We see prices going up every week, even for basic goods. We can’t take it anymore,” he continues.
According to official statistics, food prices in Spain increased by 15.4% in October compared to the previous year, which is the biggest increase in 30 years. According to a study by the University of Barcelona published in 2022, one in seven households in Spain faces “food insecurity” due to a lack of healthy and nutritious products.
Ramirez compares this to the situation in his home country of Venezuela, which has likewise suffered extreme inflation in recent years. He hopes things will get better in Spain, but he doesn’t think so.
“Everything is expensive, expensive, expensive,” he says.