The recent rise in food aid claimants in Estonia is reminiscent of the 2009 economic crisis, Indrek Kaing, volunteer with the Food Bank (Toidupank) initiative. The crisis of over a decade ago led to the formation of Toidupank in the first place, Kaing told ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Thursday.
Kaing noted that, as in the last crisis, there are more middle-class families who are finding themselves in difficulty.
He said: "The Covid pandemic took its toll on our economy, taking a lot of people out of the labor market due to layoffs."
"This year, there have been more and more Ukrainian refugees, the energy crisis is closing down industries, and we are now hearing about large-scale layoffs. This leads to on overwhelming situation economically. When all things have to be paid for from a reduced salary or a pension, this may not be sufficient," Kaing went on.
Beneficiaries include many families with children, plus single parent families, he said. "The proportion of children is quite substantial."
Kaing told "Ringvaade" that food parcel distribution days are staggered to enable, for instance, elderly people and men receive aid on Thursdays; single mothers usually on Wednesdays.
Those in need should register with a local government social worker.
Toidupank is also noted for its regular food drives, in which food is collected at stores across Estonia.
One such drive takes place at over 70 stores nationwide, Friday and Saturday.
Toidupank was the brainchild of Dutch expat Piet Boerefijn. The organization has also drawn attention to food wastage, for instance by the cruise ferry sector, which has been known to cast large quantities of edible, good quality food overboard into Tallinn harbor, while at dock.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael