In Athens’s elegant and green suburb of Kifissia Maria Kefalas-Salmatani distributes food and medicine to the needy.
In 2003, the contractor had been elected to the City Council – with the promise to create a new home for disabled children and young people. But since then, the priorities of the local government have changed: Due to the rapidly-spreading economic crisis, the councilor has to first care for the needy. The majority of start-up funding – approximately 4000.000 EUR – was given by an EU program. Today, the auxiliary project is primarily funded by private donations. By the end of January, the local administration of Kifissia will also open a social pharmacy for the needy.
Kifissia is one of the better suburbs of Athens
«Our settlement has indeed blossomed into a celebrity neighborhood since the 1980s, but that is only part of the truth. In Kifissia, there are many families from the middle class that are now faced with the nightmare of unemployment», says the 62-year-old. Those are former two-income families with children in which both the father and the mother have lost their jobs. Over-indebted entrepreneurs are also affected by the crisis in the settlement and can no longer cover their own food needs.
Discretion must be paramount
A total of 19 employees of the city take care of the daily food distribution, in addition to that there are volunteer aid workers. 170 people have already registered themselves as recipients of food aid in Kifissia. The real number of the needy is probably even much higher, because many once wealthy families are just too proud to admit their economic plight and to accept help from the state, Maria Kefalas-Salmatani points out.
«Often we only get a subtle hint from the neighbors, for example, that no light is burning in the house next door, which probably means that the power has been turned off», said the councilor. In such cases, psychologists and staff of the Social consult try to contact the affected parties and provide help – as discreetly as possible.
από την Deutsche Welle στο http://www.dw.de/soup-kitchens-for-the-greek-middle-class/a-17358673