Gather where you want to distribute them if necessary – Region of Leiria

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Almost forty years separate the ages of the former and the new president of the Food Bank against Hunger in Leiria-Fátima. After several mandates at the institution Adelino Simões, 82, he transmitted the testimony to António Oliveira, 45.

The new management is entering a phase of great challenges, commensurate with the ideas it brings to modernize the unit, located in Pourquoiiros, in the municipality of Leiria. António Oliveira admits that “reaching a hierarchical structure, with a well-defined mission and at a time when the machine is at high speed, is not easy”.

António Oliveira took over the management of BA Leiria-Fátima about a month ago Photo: Joaquim Dâmaso

However, the goals are well defined and are to keep the unit open every day of the week, at least in the afternoon, to receive people and their donations, as well as to attract new volunteers.

The new management also intends to obtain the support of the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training and the Polytechnic School of Leiria to carry out internships and establish protocols with supermarkets and hypermarkets in the region to collect the products. food that would be wasted. “We want to bring a logic of modernization”, adds António Oliveira.

The new president of BA Leiria-Fátima “has always wanted to be part of an institution of this nature” and believes that the population continues to trust Banco Alimentar. When this happens, solidarity wins: “Solidarity wins out over bad energies, over bad guys, and it’s worth it.”

The Food Bank of Leiria-Fátima has been chosen this year to receive the support of the campaign “Do good by looking at who”, in the REGION OF LEIRIA. The next edition of the newspaper, on December 17, will be solidarity-based and the value of the sale in newsstands and to businesses in the region will go to the institution.

700 more new orders since the pandemic

The effects of the new coronavirus entered the BA of Leiria-Fátima like a storm, with new orders arriving in Catadupa. There were 700 new requests for help, all a consequence of covid-19, in the nine counties covered by the unit – Leiria, Alvaiázere, Batalha, Porto de Mós, Marinha Grande, Pombal, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Pedrógão Grande , Alvaiázere and Ourém.

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Adelino Simões, outgoing chairman of the board, explains that “there is a huge world of people who would be easily affected by the pandemic”, such as domestic workers, traders and small traders, whom he calls “invisible sectors “. The absence of work and the layoffs led to many calls for help.

Adelino Simões (left) was part of the BA Leiria-Fátima foundation Stock photo: Joaquim Dâmaso

With the suspension of campaigns in supermarkets – the biggest source of supply for BA – it was necessary to find other solutions. This is how the Food Emergency Network (REA) was born: “The statutes did not allow pedestrians to be solicited permanently over time, because that is not part of the mission of the Food Bank”, explains António Oliveira.

Thus, REA was created to collect cash donations, to deliver them to the Portuguese Federation of Food Banks, which then distributes equally among the different units, guaranteeing the necessary reserves.

Adelino Simões admits that the new system “has had a brutal effect”, especially through television campaigns. In addition, it has also become possible to donate food or cash through the digital platforms of the Food Bank.

In supermarkets, a campaign to sell coupons that will be transformed into food is underway until 13. “We have a stock which has enabled us to carry out the usual distribution plan,” explains the ex-president. This plan consists of receiving the 60 institutions of the BA Leiria-Fátima support zone which distribute food to those in need, since the Food Banks manage the food products, but have no direct contact with the beneficiaries.

Volunteering? Just want and power

For Adelino Simões, the mission of the Food Bank is easy to define: “If there is a place with surpluses and there is another hungry, someone has to appear here in the middle and solve the problem. problem. It’s just that ”. He was part of the BA Leiria-Fátima foundation and believes that, despite his departure from the board of directors, he will continue to be present, because there “the time is easy to pass”.

The Partners unit has 12 resident volunteers, including board members, and the supermarket campaigns involve an average of 1,500 people. Adelino Simões sums up the fundamental characteristics of volunteering in two words, “wanting and being able”. In addition to this, a good relationship with colleagues is essential.

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