Alarming Poverty Rates in Greece

Alarming Poverty Rates in Greece Spark Volunteer Movement

Alarming Poverty Rates in Greece

As Greece’s economic depression worsens, poverty continues to be a concerning issue throughout the country. Food has become an unaffordable necessity for many families affected by the crisis, so volunteers are taking maters into their own hands by setting up programs that provide food at little or no cost to the hungry.

According to a recent article in The Financial Times, “poverty levels have increased sharply as Greece’s economic crisis has worsened, leaving the country’s social welfare system struggling to cope.”

“Even in 2010, before the latest series of government cutbacks, almost 28 per cent of Greeks faced poverty and social exclusion, according to Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency; a stark rise compared with 2009, when the figure was 20 per cent.” The article also points out that by the end of this year poverty levels could reach as high as 40 percent if inflation and unemployment continue to rise.

In response to the alarming poverty rates, a number of volunteer organizations have popped up; many setup by well-off Athenians, others as part of a grassroots movement, or by the Orthodox church. Almost all of the organizations support, or initiate food programs with some expanding to social housing and medical projects. Much of the funding for these groups stems from a three-year program supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, a global philanthropic organization that has pledged â‚¬100m to several projects, including a food aid program for schools, three new day centers for the homeless and a social housing scheme to help families at risk of eviction .

Many of the organizations have not met international standards to qualify as nonprofits, so the Foundation is hesitant to grant money to those who have not yet shown a clear history of moral and ethical conduct. This year, approximately €25m has been allocated to projects that will hopefully provide relief the those most stricken by the country’s crumbled economy. 

Photo by: flickr/mkhalili


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