Starting pistol fired for Catalonia’s Gran Recapte with 26K volunteers on the ready

Catalonia’s 8th nation-wide charity food collection began on Friday morning; its organisers hope to beat last year’s mark of 4,600 tonnes

“You bring the magic!”: such is the motto of Catalonia’s eighth Gran Recapte d’Aliments (“Great Food Collection”, in Catalan) which began on Friday morning. With 2,500 collection points dotting the nation, twenty-six thousand volunteers are ready to receive the food donations that will go to aid people below the poverty line in Catalonia.

The Food Bank has encouraged to register online everyone who is still in two minds about becoming a volunteer. The charity event —which takes place over two days— is expected to match or even surpass last year’s total food collection figure: 4,642 tonnes.

This year organisers have urged the public to donate, in particular, milk, oil, canned meat and fish, as well as baby food, as these are the items most needed.

Speaking for the Catalan News Agency, Eduard Arruga, the president of Catalonia’s Food Bank, explained that these foodstuffs are easy to store and distribute. Arruga spoke at Barcelona’s Mercat de les Corts, where the starting shot was fired for this year’s campaign. At any rate, he emphasised, no food will be stored for long as partner charities will start distributing it as of Monday next week.

Mr Arruga stated that the goal is to fill the warehouses that are currently empty, as well as offer food that is “safe to eat, healthy and in adequate amounts” to all people in need. The president of the Food Bank argued that the Gran Recapte does not aim to “make people feel good about themselves” but “to open their eyes” and help them to see that there are people in need whose rights are not being acknowledged.

A week ago, the Recapte’s Manager, Frederic Gómez, mentioned that “although nearly 5,000 tonnes can seem a lot, it’s actually very little” because the number of people who cannot afford the food they need has not dropped but levelled off. In 2015 the Food Bank still helped 235,000 people and handed out 23,000 tonnes of food.

According to Eduard Arruga, the Gran Recapte covers about 20 percent of the nourishment needs of people below the poverty line. He refers to it as “a success of the people” and a way to “encourage” the general public to help out the Food Bank during the rest of the year.