Hunger, according to the president of Portugal’s Misericordia charities, is only for those who choose to be hungry.
The head of Misericordia disagrees with the idea that hunger has increased in Portugal, who said today that the only people that are hungry are those than chose to be hungry.
Part of the mission of the Union of Misericordias in Portugal is to combat poverty.
Manuel Lemos said in an interview today that it is not a lack of response to hunger but that people do not know where social canteens are located and that many people are ashamed of their poverty.
Is there is a hunger problem in Portugal? Manuel Lemos admitted that there is, in particular "in some urban areas and housing estates," but that the scale of the problem has been over dramatised.
Lemos guaranteed that, “in Portugal, the only hungry people are those that choose to be.”
"Some people go hungry but are unaware of the presence of social canteens, there are also cases of poverty in those who are ashamed and who prefer not to ask for help. But it's not down to a lack of response," argued the country’s head of Misericordia.
Discussing the shame of poverty, the president pointed out the changes in the profile of those who ask for help from his munificent services, with a younger age group now more in evidence.
Being poor in Portugal, according to Manuel Lemos, "is a matter of self-esteem. I have seen cases of parents who are unemployed but everyday they dress as if they were working so the children do not realise. When we open social canteens, only the father goes to get the food for the whole family, to avoid exposing his wife and children."
The president of Misericordia argued that the concept of poverty has changed over the last 30 years, now reaching a middle class that, "suddenly found itself with nothing."
"I heard a lady say 'I want my life back.' I realised that she wanted her expectations back. We are talking about a middle class who bought a house and a car, was holidaying abroad and suddenly found themselves without any of that. This is an intimate analysis of people manifesting a latent aggression and a day-to-day sadness, this insults the government and now the opposition."