Queen Mathilde paid a visit to the Food Bank of Liège on Thursday to learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the food supply for those in need and how it has affected Belgian food banks.
“The Queen wanted a panorama of food aid, of which we are one of the first links,” the Banque Alimentaire’s President, Bruno Nève, told reporters about her visit. “The food bank collects unsold items to give them to associations.
“There has been a net increase in demand, which is difficult to estimate because some have no longer come for fear of the coronavirus while new beneficiaries have arrived,” Nève continued. “However, we consider that demand is increasing between 15 and 30 per cent, and this continues.”
During her visit, Queen Mathilde toured the facilities and met with representatives to discuss the social impacts of the coronavirus and how it has affected food supply and donations.
Nève said that The Queen’s visit “gives us pleasure because it shows her interest in food aid as such, which is sometimes considered as something degrading, of another age or paternalistic. It is sometimes said that food aid should be replaced by cheques to give money rather than food. But this is to forget that food aid allows people to talk to people, to get into their home problems. A cheque will never replace human contact.
“Food aid is the gateway to ending loneliness.”
Following her visit to the Food Bank of Liège, Queen Mathilde visited Accueil et Partage, a charitable organisation that works to combat hunger and social exclusion in Bas-Ougrée and Seraing.
The charity works with the Food Bank of Liège to get food and then packages and delivers them to the vulnerable population in the area. It is another way for food aid to help with curbing loneliness and ensuring human contact.