Hundreds of needy Cypriot families are receiving support from volunteers or local communities to put food on their table this Easter but demand is up while donations are down at least in Nicosia as inflation continues to bite across the board.
The Pancyprian volunteerism coordinative council helped over 1,700 families across the government-controlled areas in light of the Easter holidays according to its chairman Elias Demetriou.
He told the Cyprus News Agency that their campaign where people donate Easter foods and items to other disadvantaged families started on March 20 until Holy Wednesday.
This year, there was an increased demand but a reduced quantity of goods offered, Demetriou said, noting this is the ninth time they implement this initiative.
“There is a financial problem as far as Cypriot society is concerned, hence this shortage in giving generously, as was the case in previous years,” he said.
Even some state departments contacted the NGO to help families in need, according to the chairman, who said most needs were recorded in the capital Nicosia for the first time after many years.
Thanking everyone who donated during the campaign, Demetriou said a good gesture was to provide supermarket vouchers so that families could shop themselves for what they need.
In contrast with Nicosia, the need for ‘Easter packages’ in Limassol was reduced compared to previous years, according to the distributions of the municipality’s social grocery.
A total of 250 packages with basic necessities and Easter delicacies were provided this year, half the number of those prepared in 2021.
“We are very happy to see that the number of beneficiaries has decreased, because our goal is for residents to not need the social grocery,” the president of the Limassol municipality’s social welfare committee Athena Spyrou told CNA.
She estimated that people may have found seasonal summer jobs which might explain the reduced needs, while she noted that greatest need is recorded over Christmas.
In Larnaca, the social grocery will distribute 109 packages to families for Easter this Friday morning. He said 30 families who do not possess the relevant card and are not beneficiaries of the social grocery will also receive an Easter package for the holidays.
The products included in the package, from legumes and meat to traditional flaounes, are all donations by individuals or various organisations of the district.
Meanwhile, an anonymous donation to Athienou municipality of €2,000 worth of vouchers will also be distributed to needy families.
For its part, the Cyprus Red Cross Paphos branch has offered 400 packages and vouchers on Wednesday, part of which was a donation by the district’s police force. “Our goal is that none…should be left without the necessary goods during the festive season,” the president of the Paphos red cross branch Maria Korakidou said.
Another 120 families in Paphos received support from the Paphos volunteer coordinating council according to its administrative officer Anthi Leonidou Stropou.
In Famagusta, 200 families received support from the Metropolis of Constantia-Famagusta which also financially supported 35 needy students.
The head of the financial department of the metropolis Tasos Spyrou said statistics show the financial assistance provided by the metropolis and Christian associations to needy families amounts to €200,000 to €250,000 per year.
“The needs are too many,” he said, noting that “there are also people who are ashamed to say that they need help.” But often, Spyrou said, the metropolis finds out there are people in need and accordingly offers help or vouchers.
The work of the Metropolis, he added, “is not limited only to the Easter and Christmas holidays but is carried out throughout the year, since the needs of the people are daily and different for each person.
To contact the Pancyprian volunteerism council NGO call on 22514786.