By Evie Andreou
NEW criteria will be introduced for food bank beneficiaries as of next month according to Volunteerism Commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki, who also announced the installation of a software programme that will ensure the equal distribution of aid.
All 55 organisations, including the Church of Cyprus, local government and volunteer organisations will adopt the same assessment criteria for beneficiaries and in addition to the use of the software programme there will be homogeneity to the distribution of help to the 48.000 beneficiaries.
These measures were deemed necessary since, according to Yiannaki, some people were taking advantage of the lack of coordination between the organisations and were receiving help from more than one organisation or were receiving help without being beneficiaries.
He also added that the new criteria will be based on the regulations for social benefits and special cases will be considered. He gave examples of a mother with three children, two of them students, who cannot survive on a social allowance alone and the same goes for a family where one parent is unemployed and their income is €1,000.
“Our job is to ensure that the new criteria will give the opportunity to support some families that might not be entitled to a social allowance but be in need of our support,” he said.
The existing staff will be trained both for the new assessment criteria and the software programme.
As regards shortages in food banks, Yiannaki said that “we are going through an extended period of economic crisis and there is constant pressure on the organisations for help.”
He also thanked the citizens as well as private companies that contribute to the food banks regularly.