NEWS

Charities vow to continue campaign

Local authorities, churches, charities and nongovernmental organizations have vowed to continue their efforts to support the worst-off victims of the ongoing financial crisis following their success during the Christmas period.

More than 210 tons of food was collected in a nationwide campaign organized by Skai Television, while in the capital Doctors of the World and the Atenistas urban action group collected milk for children. In Thessaloniki, the MAZI charity distributed 2,000 packages of food and other essentials to people in need.

The humanitarian efforts are being spearheaded by the Church of Greece, which launched its first soup kitchens more than three years ago.

At that time, 75 to 80 percent of those fed were migrants, according to Costis Dimtsas, head of Apostoli (Mission), a charity group run by the Church of Greece. ?Now 60 percent of them are Greeks,? he said, adding that demand has surged since last summer.

More than 200,000 portions of food a day are served to the needy in parishes across the country. About 10,000 portions are served to 5,000 people every day within the contours of the Athens Archbishopric.

Forty percent of the people served are over 51 years old while 35 percent are between 31 and 50, figures show. Twenty-five percent are under 30.

Meanwhile, according to statistics published yesterday by the Politis nonprofit organization, the number of homeless people in the Attica region has shot up to 15,000 people. This number includes people who have lost their homes because of the financial crisis and are forced to live with relatives or, in some cases, in their cars.

The problem is more intense in northern Greece, where the majority of homeless people are aged between 20 and 30, Politis said.