By Bejay Browne
HUNDREDS of needy families will go to a Paphos charity today to collect their weekly food parcels and some will be forced to go without, unless more donations come in, as supplies are running dangerously low.
Pavlina Patsalou and George Sofokleous of the Paphos charity Solidarity, are appealing for help.
“We realised that our stock of food is running very low so I have spent the last few days calling everyone at shops and supermarkets, associations and volunteers to try and ensure we have enough to give out to four hundred families, including 200 babies,” she told the Cyprus Mail.
Patsalou, who is frantically making up the food parcels along with a number of volunteers, says that the charity is short of supplies for about a hundred families. They will be handed out from 9am and usually continues until 2pm. But without more donations, some may be turned away and will go hungry.
The charity is appealing for powdered milk for babies, nappies, long life milk, flour, sugar, pasta, rice, pulses and canned goods.
Solidarity was set up in 2012 and helps all those in need, of any nationality or background. In recent days, there has been an increase in the number of British expats asking for help.
“More Brits in their 40s and 50s are facing hardship, some due to health issues, such as cancer or heart attacks, and others because they just can’t find work,” said volunteer Mikka Heaney.
“We need to ensure that we never have to close our doors again,” Patsalou said, adding, “this happened last year when we ran out of food and the situation was heartbreaking. These people are desperate, and I understand that times are hard for everyone, but whatever the public or shops can spare will be greatly appreciated.”
The charity’s main distribution day is Thursday, when the bulk of families are handed food packets. Others get food parcels when in need. Solidarity is currently feeding about 850-900 families in the district, with the number changing as some find work, while others lose their income.
Paphos is being worse hit with unemployment numbers soaring. Many are now turning to churches, associations and charities such as Solidarity to eat. Without this support they would go hungry.
The Paphos based charity also goes out of its way to help individuals and families who don’t meet the criteria for aid from the social welfare department.
In order to replenish its stocks, Patsalou said that the charity constantly organises fundraising events and food drives with two major events planned very soon, with updates available on Solidarity’s Facebook page.
Donations may be taken to Patsalous’ children’s clothing shop, any of the drop-off points listed on the website www.solidaritypaphos.com , or the Solidarity house in Paphos with prior arrangement.
For further information or to help call Pavlina Patsalou on 99220152.