High energy prices and Ukrainian refugees have led to 120 percent increase in the number of people relying on food aid in Estonia since January, newspaper Eesti Päevaleht reported on Monday.
As one of its duties, the Food Bank (Toidupank) distributes government-purchased long-lasting food food aid once a quarter and the third drop of the year will occur this month on August 24.
A record number of people will receive help this time — 34,662 — compared to 15,647 in January, a rise of over 100 percent.
"The number of people needing help started to grow in January, when people in Estonia had to cope with high electricity and fuel prices and many got into trouble. Since March, a large number of war refugees have arrived from Ukraine," Liisa Rebane-Mäe, communication and project manager of the Estonian Food Bank, told EPL.
The Ministry of Social Affairs' Tea Varrak said a record amount of food aid has been purchased, adding: "This is a very big challenge for all of us."
Distributed packages of government food aid include items such as rice, multi-grain cereals, soup, canned meat, honey, jam, muesli bars and tea. Those in need are referred to the Food Bank by social workers.
The charity also hands out donated goods and food saved from supermarkets to those in need every week and there has been a rise in users, from 15,000 to 20,000.
Editor: Helen Wright
Source: Eesti Päevaleht