"We are worried that 2,000 people are starving"
Mixed paella

“We are worried that 2,000 people are starving”

Paella, mixed salad, dessert, bread and drink of the day menu distributed by social dining room dispenser this Thursday. I am you -The largest in Andalusia- can be the restaurant offered to people in need, but by any neighborhood restaurant. Again, The association is now in the red and over a thousand users’ lunches are at stake..

Every day from 11am to 4pm, 1,872 people – and that number is growing every day – line up to grab lunch at the doors of this food machine in the neighborhood of Miraflores. Also, this association school breakfasts for More than 560 children requests this help.



It was in 1992 Emilio Gomez, a former military man, went to Bosnia on a mission and closely observed the needs of his compatriots. “That got me thinking again.” He was only 49 years old when he retired and was eager to devote himself to others, so on January 6, 2016, he started cooking at home and distributing the delicacies to different parts of Malaga.

Three months later and driven by the desire to meet the most basic needs, Gómez rented a warehouse in which he placed a small kitchen. “When did my surprise come many people started ordering food. Especially the elderly and many immigrants who have been abandoned by their families,” he recalls.

So, in March of the same year, the former soldier dared to set up a dining room “in good conditions”. An old bar at number 18 on Calle Moreno Nieto would bring this idea to life. After several reforms, This venue started to welcome its doors on 19 Juneat first, only to people in “poverty”.

But hundreds of residents from all over Malaga began to move into the dining room. “When I realized the real needs of people, I decided to remove the tables and chairs and distributor so they can take their menu and serve more people”, says Emilio Gómez.

In 2019, about 850 people used the dispenser before Covid-19. Now, three years later, the figure has doubled, reaching almost 2,000. “The user profile we serve after the pandemic has changed a lot. Most of them are parents who have lost their jobs. People who have never dreamed of being in such a situation,” explains the founder of the association.

Despite economical situation of the I am you in these moments more critical than ever. At the end of the year the NGO is expected to receive a subsidy of 91,000 Euros from the Andalusian Government, while the organization has to face a debt of 125,000 Euros and expenditures of 20,000 Euros for October, November and December. monthly. “The Board’s help allows me to pay for only the meat and bread of what’s left of 2021,” says Gómez. The rest of the food – 90% – are additives made by the Bancosol food bank.

And this is, apart from the distributor’s expenses, the organization copes with rents of at least three buildings, two are for food storage, and the third is clothing, shoes and other items that are offered to users. “We also have to look at the salaries of three workers: a cook, a driver and a warehouse manager. We had to hire them because they are so important and if we hired volunteers they would leave as soon as a job offer came in and we had to start over”, says the head of the NGO.

Administrations give you a help Emilio admits that they will see each other quickly and effectively. doomed to shut down. “I’m not worried about having to borrow money, What really worries me is that 2,000 people are left without help for food.“While he wants him to be responsible for official institutions, he admits that he has to take responsibility for himself. “I don’t want to invite people to become members because families in general, even those who consider themselves middle class, are having a really bad time,” she says.

Augustine Royuela (59) has been working for the dispenser-dining room for over five years. Much earlier, after a car accident in Galicia, they gave him permanent complete disability. “I was no longer useful and didn’t know what to do.” After spending a lifetime between Alicante and Valladolid, he decides to go to Malaga to spend fifteen days and stays there. It was not the dining room that connected it to the city, but the dining room that gave it life. “Because I have little money and a lot of time, I decided to invest in others,” she admits wearily after a busy day of work.

Despite “everything he has on him” – as he himself admits – he acts like gunpowder in the old bar. “I am more focused on supporting and helping others than on my own illness.‘ manifests.

– Do you think they will eventually have to close the dining room?

– I’ve never seen Emilio give up. Nor would it be human. A person with a full stomach makes better decisions than someone who is completely despondent.

For her part, Ruth Sarabia, regional delegate for Social Inclusion, Denies lack of support from the Board He emphasizes that since 2020, the aid allocated to this organization has increased from 29,100 Euros to 91.182 Euros, which means more than three times the subsidy. It also explains that the payment will be valid “within a few days”.

Faced with criticism from the socialist municipal group, Sarabia details: I am you It is the second presence of these features in the entire province of Malaga. More funding from the Social Inclusion Delegation“I will also hold a meeting this week with the people responsible for analyzing the situation,” assuring that the Board is “affiliated with all organizations that serve the most vulnerable people in Andalusia.”

Elisa Pérez de Siles, councilor of the Bailén-Miraflores district, summoned by the Málaga City Council’s plenary meeting this Wednesday and by Gertrudis Diez, councilor of the socialist group, Consistory “helped relate to an infinite number of issues”One of them, he discloses, was about purchasing the property to avoid rental costs.

Pérez de Siles, accompanied by Francisco Pomares, Member of the Council for Social Rights, this Thursday. will meet with the head I am you for try to reach an agreement. “We will present ourselves not only to find solutions, but also to audit these accounts,” he said.

#worried #people #starving

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