WILLEMSTAD – Aid organizations notice that the economy of Curaçao is further deteriorating: the demand for food packages is increasing. Thirty percent of the Curaçao population lives below the poverty line. In addition, Statistics Netherlands reports that unemployment rose by 64 percent in the first half of the year. Those who are not employed can only apply for assistance.
But that is so little, says Agnes Koblenz of the Acute Emergency Aid Poverty Foundation (SANA) that it is impossible to live off that benefit. The foundation is one of the 25 organizations that receive food packages from Food Bank Curaçao to distribute them. They are therefore mostly underprivileged tractors, including many single mothers. Koblenz says he knows mothers who sometimes don’t eat for four days.
Alejandro van Putten is also a regular customer of the Food Bank Curacao. He is affiliated with the AGO school in Montaña. Many pupils from poor families sit on it and he has a list of twenty families living in miserable circumstances. Here too, it mainly concerns families who live on social security.
And he also says that the benefit is too little: halfway through the month, students are always in his office asking for food and preferably also at home. Students often have to help their mother. For example, they try to earn some money. They get tired at school and can’t concentrate well, Van Putten says.
More packages needed, but less money
Every second Saturday of the month, the Food Bank volunteers come together in a shed. They pack shopping bags with foods such as rice and lots of canned food. They buy the food from the donations they receive.
They too notice the effects of the poor economy; more and more organizations are asking for packages lately. But the Food Bank can mean less than before. They received a subsidy for the autonomy of Curaçao. After that no more and an amount of 1 tonne was lost so that they can only deliver 100 packages instead of 400.