Greece’s economy is once again reeling. After 10+ years of recession, some signs of fragile improvement were beginning before the COVID-19 pandemic. Then measures to prevent the virus’s spread created a deep new economic shock.
With Greece’s unemployment still the highest in the European Union, many families face continued hardship, some struggling to keep food on their tables. To help address this pressing need, IOCC and local Church partner Apostoli are providing families — especially those with children — with monthly dry-food parcels and prepaid grocery cards.
Families can pick up packets of dry and canned goods from 83 parishes across Athens, or a local Apostoli food bank — ensuring they have staples like flour, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, legumes, and evaporated milk. The prepaid cards, through a partnership with a local grocery chain, allow families to shop on their own for Greek-produced items like fresh fruit and veggies, dairy, chicken, eggs, bread, and cooking oil. In January alone, cardholders shopped for more than 18,500 pounds of this nourishing food. In addition, people experiencing homelessness receive ready-to-eat canned food and bakery products in Athens city center, with support from Apostoli.
Together, these programs serve about 1,900 families and 600 registered homeless persons in Athens. The work in Greece continues as together we weather the continuing storm of economic uncertainty.