The Malta Independent 8 May 2021, Saturday

Most-deprived to get food co-financed by the EU for free – Family Minister

Duncan Barry Monday, 21 December 2015, 12:39 Last update: about 6 years ago

Families who are in need will be getting free packaged food for free as from January next year, Family Minister Michael Farrugia announced this morning. The food will be distributed four times a year.

The project is part of Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) programme which supports Member States' social emergency relief schemes.

Dr Farrugia emphasised that this programme is not an extension of the previous programme and families who are eligible for the free food were means-tested beforehand.

He said the funds allocated to this particular project is €4.6 million and the only entity that submitted a tender for the distribution of food to such families is the Foundation for Social Welfare Services.

He said, when asked by The Malta Independent, that food and beverage wholesaler Vivian Corporation will be providing the food after it was awarded the tender.

Dr Farrugia said, when asked, that NGOs or the church for that matter did not submit a tender for the distribution of food.

The amount of food distributed to families will all depend on the income and size of the family, he continued.

Dr Farrugia said that 40 staff members of LEAP will be assisting in the distribution of the food to families. LEAP is an EU initiative to tackle poverty.

The minister highlighted that families won’t simply be given food for free but also the social support necessary. He said the fact that the Foundation for Social Welfare Services will be responsible for the distribution of the food will help the foundation get closer to those in need who would require social assistance.

“Our aim is to empower families and help get them back on their feet,” he said.

The first batch is to be distributed between 18 and 22 January, 2016. The products to be distributed include cereals, tinned peas, tuna, fruit, and tomatoes, milk, and pasta. The batches of food will be split into two categories. Those who fall under category B will be eligible to an extra 13 kilos of food.

Those persons who are eligible are to be notified by means of a letter in the coming days. Persons who cannot, for some reason or other, collect the food themselves can appoint a person they trust to collect the food on their behalf instead as long as an identity card is presented to the food booths across Malta and Gozo.

While on the subject, Dr Farrugia said that the government is soon to announce two other similar projects but which will be funded by the state.

One of the projects is in relation to food distribution as well while the other is about the setting up of a food bank for orphanages.

The EU, Dr Farrugia explained, will be conducting stringent stock checks so as to prevent any abuse from taking place, as happened in the past with such schemes. 

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