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The power of giving

October 15, 2012 – 9:00 am

Operacion Kilo aims to collect 4.5 million kilos of food this year in Seville.

From time to time, I used to notice collections of food at the entrance to my local Carrefour supermarket. They would collect kilo bags of sugar, rice, lentils or other basic foodstuffs, to give to those less fortunate. Just another euro on your supermarket bill, all in a very good cause.

The Virgin de la Estrella - people were asked to bring food gifts, rather than flowers, to celebrate the Romeria de Torrijos in Valencina de la Concepcion (Sevilla) yesterday.

They say charity begins at home – well now donations are being accepted for those in Spain, from those in Spain (I don’t want to say Spanish, because this affects plenty of non-Spanish too). The Red Cross has just launched a national fundraising campaign, there’s a food bank here in Seville, and I’ve seen food collection points this weekend in two unlikely places: on Saturday at a band competition, with its high-pitched, mournful yet shrieky Semana Santa music, in a park in Los Remedios; and at our local romeria, the Romeria de Torrijos (est attendance: 30,000 – it’s quite a big one) yesterday. Instead of bringing bouquets of flowers for the Virgin in her chapel at the Hacienda de Torrijos, the faithful were invited to leave bags of food, to be distributed among the most needy families in the village.

Operacion Kilo food collection point, at a municipal band competition in Parque de los Principes, Seville.

The first collection point I saw, in Seville’s Parque de los Principes, was part of an initiative called Operacio Kilo, which aims to collect 4.5 million kilos of donated food every year. It is organised by the non-profit Fundacion Banco de Alimentos de Sevilla (Sville Food Bank Foundation), which feeds 42,000 people every day in the city and province.

They are organising a Gran Recogida de Alimentos (Great Food Collection) on 30 November and 1 December. The aim is to collect 250,000 kilos of food from 250 supermarkets, with 3,000 teams of 10 volunteers. I will be putting forward my services, although when I tried to register online, the form didn’t accept my foreigner’s ID number (which starts with an “X” for extranjero) as sometimes happens. I’ll contact them using an old-fashioned contraption called a telephone instead.

Will you be giving?

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