Although average wages in Estonia have recently grown at a steady pace, the number of people who depend on charity for food is on the increase as well, ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera newscast reported on Sunday. People from all over Tallinn come to the Salvation Army's Paljassaare meal centre—an increasing number of families with children among them.
The Salvation Army's Paljassaare rehabilitation centre is currently housing some 20 people. One of their tasks is to prepare and hand out food at the meal centre. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the centre is open to everybody, up to 170 people typically queue for a meal. The number of those in need is increasing.
"The share of families with children has increased, and so has the share of middle-aged people," Erkki Lehtinen, who runs the rehabilitation centre, explained, adding that judging by the way they look, plenty of them have work, but are still stopping by for a meal. Their number has recently risen.
People from all over Tallinn get a meal at the centre. A lot of them are embarrassed to queue for soup despite their hunger and not having a lot of money. The Salvation Army's centre in Paljassaare is remote enough to provide anonymity and avoid being seen by neighbours.
"The fact that we're relatively far off seems to attract more people," Mr Lehtinen added. "If someone comes here eg from Lasnamäe, they're in a relatively safe place here, far away from their flat, and they can assume that nobody will recognise them."
Editor: Dario Cavegn