NICOSIA – Capital controls have been lifted and Cyprus is moving toward recovery but that didn’t help many of the island’s poor on Easter.
More than 12,000 families needed charity food for the sacred holiday, supplied by volunteer food banks as the government has done little for them.
The Cyprus Mail reported the numbers were up over last year with volunteer commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki saying the need was growing.
Volunteers at several food banks described the days leading up to the holiday as complete chaos. They said they were working 12-hour days to ensure that every family needing help received it, the paper said.
While families were grateful many felt unhappy they had to reach out, said a volunteer at Adopt a Family for Easter, Petroula Petrou.
“Even though I’ve been doing this for 16 years there were still moments when ‘I couldn’t help but cry,'” she said.
The numbers showed the economy’s recovery is illusory, said the Deputy Director of the Pancyprian Volunteerism Coordinative Council Elias Demetriou.
“A lot more people need help compared to last year and in no way are we over the crisis,” he added. He said he hated the fact that some people felt too humiliated to get help from charities.
“People have reached their breaking point so even though a lot of them hate it, the taboo is slowly going away because they have no other choice,” he said.