Red Cross: Coronavirus increases food poverty in Finland

The number of people needing food aid has increased this year, and most of them say the help they're getting is simply not enough during difficult times.

File picture of Red Cross food aid / Credit: Marjaana Malkamäki, Finnish Red Cross

The Red Cross has warned of the growing need for food aid in Finland as the coronavirus crisis impacts the financial situation of many people and leaves them unable to afford to feed themselves or their families.

Thousands of people receive help from the Red Cross at their 84 locations around the country, with students and families with children increasingly joining the queues for food this year according to the charity.

In a survey of people who receive food aid, more than 80% said they needed it to survive each month. Around half of the survey respondents said they collected food aid every month; and almost as many felt they needed more food aid than is available in their locality.

“Food aid should not be a permanent solution for anyone. The level of basic security is currently insufficient, as can be seen in the food queues” says Maria Viljanen from the Finnish Red Cross.

“Getting help should not depend on charity either. Especially families with children, who also have financial challenges and redundancies, they should receive more lasting support from elsewhere” she adds.

In addition to offering food aid the Red Cross is also offering other types of assistance including conversation for those who want it, as well as voluntary activities that people can take part in.