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Dublin: 3°C Monday 6 December 2021

The Cork food-bank that gives away more than 1,000 meals a day

The Bia Food Initiative has been in operation since last September.

Image: Shutterstock/grynold

WITH YESTERDAY’S SPRING Statement, it seems that the recovery is starting to take hold in the Irish economy.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has come out and said that the living standards in Ireland should grow every year between now and 2020.

This could see €2 billion in tax cuts over the next five years and increases to public sector workers’ wages.

Despite this, not everyone is feeling the benefits equally, with one Cork-based food bank having given away 300,000 meals since the start of last September – around 1,260 a day.

How does this food initiative work? 

The Bia Food Initiative works by redistributing food that is donated to it by different sources.

Its supplies come from a number of different food companies, including major retailers and suppliers Tesco, Musgrave, Aldi and Lidl as well as local outlets.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie about the food bank, Karen Horgan, a project manager with the organisation, said, “there is a lot of demand. We are not given out directly to the people in need so the food goes out through our charity partners.”

The stories we hear from the charities are pretty harrowing. We have a warehouse and we try not to keep stockpiles – any food we get in we find we have a demand for it.

Speaking about the need for the facility, local Anti-Austerity Alliance Councillor Mick Barry, said that the need for such facilities goes against the “rosy picture of economic recovery” that the government tries to present.

“At the same time that Ireland has more euro billionaires than ever before it also has more people relying on food banks too,” he went on.

Who benefits?

The food distributed by the charity goes to 45 charities around the Munster area.

The man responsible for setting up the operation is Brendan Dempsey, who is a former regional head of St Vincent De Paul. On the economic recovery he said:

We don’t see it, not a bit.

He explained that some of the people who benefit from the programme are unexpected.

I remember a very well dressed lady coming in with two little girls. And she wanted to feed them and she had a good meal as well herself. It was clear to everyone she was completely out of place herself. But that’s the way life is for people at the moment.

Read: Tax cuts and spending hikes: Are we back to the good times?

Also: AAA sends legal letter to Sinn Féin amid anti-water charge infighting in Limerick

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