shooping-cart-article-about-malasaña-acompaña-foodbank

Only in Madrid proper, hundreds of people joined the local caring network Masalaña Acompaña, created spontaneously to minimise the social collapse caused by Covid-19. Alexa Diéguez, one of doubledose’s cofounders, is a member of this network. Here is a brief account of her bittersweet experience, one in which kindness, generosity and dedication coexist with the impotence of confirming that Spain’s political system is designed to the greater glory of an overwhelming minority. As it usually happens, the epicentre of this unprecedented social emergency, along with the collapse of public health care, is poverty, the daughter of inequality.

INTERVIEWS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

This article is a personal introduction to Malasaña Acompaña, a caring network created in the eponymous neighbourhood located in the heart of Madrid. The highlight, however, are the interviews to the people who have been involved in this network, collected in the series INTERVIEWS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, inaugurated by Eva Fuentes. The different testimonies and personal points of view of all the interviewees will make for a richer whole.

My son and I were in Vigo visiting our family when the state of alarm was declared. It felt all so strange that I thought it best to stay there to be close to my father and my sister. Once it was clear lockdown was going to take long, we decided to return home to Madrid.

We took a train on 7 April. When we arrived in the afternoon, I spotted a Malasaña Acompaña poster, and right there I decided to volunteer. I filled out a form and waited. I read the newspapers every day to keep up to date, so it wasn’t hard for me to imagine how truly desperate the situation was for many families.

It took them a while to answer. Later on, I learned that the reason for their lateness lied in their difficulty to find headquarters for the food bank after the closing of Casa 28. Finally, after a long wait, Ana Santos, responsible for managing volunteers, sent me an email saying they were counting on me to help them pick up food donations on Saturday, May 2. We had been present in Malasaña’s markets and supermarkets, where locals donated food within their possibilities (they actually donated a lot), since Saturday, 25 April. Malasaña Acompaña’s first food parcels were given out to families on 28 April, the day Ana contacted.

Since I am a journalist, they suggested that I join the communication group. We held a Zoom meeting on 29 Wednesday, after which I created a Malasaña Acompaña Facebook page, which was launched on 3 May and which I am still using as much as I can.

This experience has meant a lot to me. It has given me tremendous joy, since I have met wonderful people, witnessed generosity and felt part of a community. However, I was left in shock after seeing firsthand the hardships many families are enduring as a result of the abandonment of the institutions and the functioning of an insane bureaucracy. These families have also had to put up with the lies and the folly of the regional and local governments, who don’t pursue nor want to pursue the common good — quite the opposite. Finally, I am certain that, after my experience on the streets helping others, I will do it again and again as long as there is so much injustice and inequality around me. During such surreal days, I thought a lot about the concept of aporophobia, coined by philosopher Adela Cortina, which describes the fear and rejection of poverty and poor people, and which is at the center of the abandonment and discrimination they suffer. Sadly, we have seen it in action with the selected confinements — go to work, but don’t go for a walk — imposed on southern Madrid. An attempt at segregation we must never forget. How and why are we allowing it to happen?”

Alexa Diéguez

 

The Malasaña – Conde Duque – Chueca Acompaña caring network, Malasaña Acompaña for short, was born in early 2020 as a natural continuation of the brave work developed by Adrián Rojas at his restaurant Casa 28, located on Calle Espíritu Santo. On 14 March, rather than closing, he started serving warm meals for free to people in need from the neighborhood.

The makeshift soup kitchen remained open for 42 consecutive days, six weeks in total. On 25 April, Adrián was forced to close as a result of the growing pressure from other neighbors and the local police, who complained about the noise people waiting in lines were making. On the first day, Casa 28 served 20 warm meals. On the last day, it served 280.

Adrián Rojas wasn’t alone. Soon a dozen people followed suit. Among them was Lola Beneyto Lantero, the second cook during those long weeks and the owner of El Lugarcito, the take-out restaurant she opened a few months ago on Calle Noviciado which is fortunately still open. Many businesses in the area haven’t been that lucky.

Several of the people who started Malasaña Acompaña had been helping Rojas at Casa 28. In fact, in the final moments, parcels of raw products from the soup kitchen’s pantry were given to families who would rather cook at home so they didn’t have to wait in line on Espiritu Santo every day.

This is how a network of volunteers began forming that would eventually become a food bank with people who had been helping at Casa 28, members of the neighbourhood’s associative movements, members of Cuidados Madrid Centro, a wider network that includes Malasaña Acompaña, and other groups that appeared during the previous crisis, like Plataforma La CuBa, which received considerable media attention during lockdown.

 

When the first food parcels were given, nobody imagined the food bank would be still as necessary in late September, six months after the state of alarm was declared

 

The Malasaña Acompaña warehouse was originally located in the cellar of the Ecologistas en Acción offices. When the first food lots were given out, the people involved in this spontaneous local network couldn’t imagine, even in their worst nightmares, that the food bank would be still as necessary in late September, six months after the state of alarm was declared. In fact, it is still supporting 50 percent of the families it did during the first wave.

As regards social services, the pandemic has revealed what many professionals were warning about — our system is slow, paternalistic, painfully bureaucratized, glaringly underfunded at all levels, and incapable of adapting to the different realities of the people they are supposed to be taking care of. The outcome is terrible, so much that, for example, Malasaña Acompaña has had to cover the basic needs of 23 babies for months because neither the local nor the regional governments have been there for them. In Madrid proper, about 5,000 babies have experienced the same problem, according to Redes de Cuidados de Madrid. Whatever happened to children’s rights? How will these babies, who have been starving for months, grow up?

Despite these structural deficiencies, the state of alarm declared on 14 March imposed exceptional measures to address an exceptional situation, always in the interest of the common good. As a consequence, the answer of the Madrid City Council hasn’t been up to the challenge. It has lacked the ability to provide municipal grants to families that were already outside their radar before lockdown, people living hand to mouth who have now become destitute. They failed to do it —or maybe they didn’t want to do it —, but it is clear that it was within their means to do something.

In this context, city council representatives have strived to vilify and hinder local caring networks instead of acting swiftly and be thankful to so many neighbours for their collective effort in the absence of municipal social services since 14 Mach, when all the available resources — offices, shelters, soup kitchens — were shut down, leaving the most vulnerable people in the city behind without any scruples.

Although several local government spokespeople claimed that the delay was due to the fact that the neighborhood networks had not provided them with the data of the families they had been supporting, the truth is that Malasaña Acompaña had delivered the aforementioned documents on 16 June, but nothing has changed since. Those who were not registered in the municipal lists aren’t receiving any public aid. It could also be said that requiring volunteers to undertake the task of collecting and systematizing personal data is a breach of duty — another failure to add to the list.

While waiting for the Family Card, which can be requested since Tuesday, 1 September, and which hopefully won’t become just a gesture of goodwill, the people who make up Malasaña Acompaña are right now in the process of setting up a date to close the food bank, but not before trying to provide the families they have been working with with some kind of support and reflecting on the best way to evolve as a group.

The time has come for the city council to pick up the ball, but the opacity around the Family Card, as well as the lack of sanitary control in which the government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso has plunged us, does not bode well.

*

Malasaña Acompaña: Only the People Saves the People

Only in Madrid proper, hundreds of people got involved in the local caring network Masalaña Acompaña, created spontaneously to minimise the social collapse caused by Covid-19. Alexa Diéguez, one of doubledose’s cofounders, is a member of this network. Here is a brief recount of her bittersweet experience, one in which kindness, generosity and dedication share the stage with a feeling of impotence at confirming that Spain’s political system is designed to the greater glory of an overwhelming minority. As it usually happens, the epicentre of this unprecedented social emergency, along with the collapse of public health care, is poverty, the daughter of inequality.

INTERVIEWS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

This article is a personal introduction to Malasaña Acompaña, a caring network created in the famous neighbourhood located in the heart of Madrid. The highlight, however, are the interviews to the people who have been involved in this network, collected in the series INTERVIEWS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, inaugurated by Eva Fuentes. The different testimonies and personal points of view of all the interviewees will make for a richer whole.

My son and I were in Vigo visiting our family when the state of alarm was declared. It felt all so strange that I thought it best to stay there to be close to my father and my sister. Once it was clear lockdown was going to take long, we decided to return home to Madrid.

We took a train on 7 April. When we arrived in the afternoon, I spotted a Malasaña Acompaña poster, and right there I decided to volunteer. I filled out a form and waited. I read the newspapers every day to keep up to date, so it wasn’t hard for me to imagine how truly desperate the situation was for many families.

It took them a while to answer. Later on, I learned that the reason for their lateness lied in their difficulty to find headquarters for the food bank after the closing of Casa 28. Finally, after a long wait, Ana Santos, responsible for managing volunteers, sent me an email saying they were counting on me to help them pick up food donations on Saturday, 2 May. We had been present in Malasaña’s markets and supermarkets, where locals donated food within their possibilities (they actually donated a lot), since Saturday, 25 April. Malasaña Acompaña’s first food parcels were given out to families on 28 April, the day Ana contacted.

Since I am a journalist, they suggested that I join the communication group. We held a Zoom meeting on 29 Wednesday, after which I created a Malasaña Acompaña Facebook page, which was launched on 3 May and which I am still using as much as I can.

This experience has meant a lot to me. It has given me tremendous joy, since I have met wonderful people, witnessed generosity and felt part of a community. However, I must say that after seeing firsthand the hardships many families are enduring as a result of the abandonment of the institutions and of an insane bureaucracy, I was left in shock. These families have also had to put up with the lies and the folly of the regional and local governments, who don’t pursue nor want to pursue the common good — quite the opposite. Finally, I am certain that, after my experience on the streets helping others, I will do it again and again as long as there is so much injustice and inequality around me. During such surreal days, I thought a lot about the concept of aporophobia, coined by philosopher Adela Cortina, which describes the fear and rejection of poverty and poor people and which is at the center of the abandonment and discrimination they suffer. Sadly, we have seen it in action with the selected confinements — go to work, but don’t go for a walk — imposed on southern Madrid. An attempt at segregation we must never forget. How and why are we allowing it to happen?”

Alexa Diéguez

 

The Malasaña – Conde Duque – Chueca Acompaña caring network, Malasaña Acompaña for short, was born in early 2020 as a natural continuation of the brave work developed by Adrián Rojas at his restaurant Casa 28, located on Calle Espíritu Santo. On 14 March, rather than closing, he started serving warm meals for free to people in need from the neighborhood.

The makeshift soup kitchen remained open for 42 consecutive days, six weeks in total. On 25 April, Adrián was forced to close as a result of the growing pressure from other neighbors and the local police, who complained about the noise people waiting in lines were making. On the first day, Casa 28 served 20 warm meals. On the last day, it served 280.

Adrián Rojas wasn’t alone. Soon a dozen people followed suit. Among them was Lola Beneyto Lantero, the second cook during those long weeks and the owner of El Lugarcito, the take-out restaurant she opened a few months ago on Calle Noviciado which is fortunately still open. Many businesses in the area haven’t been that lucky.

Several of the people who started Malasaña Acompaña had been helping Rojas at Casa 28. In fact, in the final moments, parcels of raw products from the soup kitchen’s pantry were given to families who would rather cook at home so they didn’t have to wait in line on Espiritu Santo every day.

This is how a network of volunteers began forming that would eventually become a food bank. Among its members are people who had been helping at Casa 28, members of the neighbourhood’s associative movements, members of Cuidados Madrid Centro, a wider network to which Malasaña Acompaña belongs, and other groups that appeared during the economic crisis, among them Plataforma La CuBa, which received considerable media attention during lockdown.

 

When the first food parcels were given, nobody imagined the food bank would be still as necessary in late September, six months after the state of alarm was declared

 

The Malasaña Acompaña warehouse was originally located in the cellar of the Ecologistas en Acción offices. When the first food lots were given out, the people involved in this spontaneous local network couldn’t imagine, even in their worst nightmares, that the food bank would be still as necessary in late September, six months after the state of alarm was declared. In fact, it is still supporting 50 percent of the families it did during the first wave.

As regards social services, the pandemic has revealed what many professionals were warning about — our system is slow, paternalistic, painfully bureaucratized, glaringly underfunded at all levels, and incapable of adapting to the different realities of the people they are supposed to be taking care of. The outcome is terrible, so much that, for example, Malasaña Acompaña has had to cover the basic needs of 23 babies for months because neither the local nor the regional governments have been there for them. In Madrid proper, about 5,000 babies have experienced the same problem, according to Redes de Cuidados de Madrid. Whatever happened to children’s rights? How will these babies, who have been starving for months, grow up?

Despite these structural deficiencies, the state of alarm declared on 14 March imposed exceptional measures to address an exceptional situation, always in the interest of the common good. As a consequence, the answer of the Madrid City Council hasn’t been up to the challenge. It has lacked the ability to provide municipal grants to families that were already outside their radar before lockdown, people living hand to mouth who have now become destitute. They failed to do it —or maybe they didn’t want to do it —, but it is clear that it was within their means to do something.

In this context, city council representatives have strived to vilify and hinder local caring networks instead of acting swiftly and be thankful to so many neighbours for their collective effort in the absence of municipal social services since 14 Mach, when all the available resources — offices, shelters, soup kitchens — were shut down, leaving the most vulnerable people in the city behind without any scruples.

Although several local government spokespeople claimed that the delay was due to the fact that the neighborhood networks had not provided them with the data of the families they had been supporting, the truth is that Malasaña Acompaña had delivered the aforementioned documents on 16 June, but nothing has changed since. Those who were not registered in the municipal lists aren’t receiving any public aid. It could also be said that requiring volunteers to undertake the task of collecting and systematizing personal data is a breach of duty — another failure to add to the list.

While waiting for the Family Card, which can be requested since Tuesday, 1 September, and which hopefully won’t become just a gesture of goodwill, the people who make up Malasaña Acompaña are right now in the process of setting up a date to close the food bank, but not before trying to provide the families they have been working with with some kind of support and reflecting on the best way to evolve as a group.

The time has come for the city council to pick up the ball, but the opacity around the Family Card, as well as the lack of sanitary control in which the government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso has plunged us, does not bode well.

*

imagen-carrito-malasana-acompana-solo-el-pueblo-salva-al-pueblo

Malasaña Acompaña: Only the People Saves the People

Only in Madrid proper, hundreds of people got involved in the local caring network Masalaña Acompaña, created spontaneously to minimise the social collapse caused Covid-19. Alexa Diéguez, one of doubledose’s cofounders, is a member of this network. Here is a brief recount of her bittersweet experience, one in which kindness, generosity, and dedication share the stage with a feeling of impotence at confirming that Spain’s political system is designed to the greater glory of an overwhelming minority. As it usually happens, the epicentre of this unprecedented social emergency, along with the collapse of public health care, is poverty, the daughter of inequality.

INTERVIEWS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

This article is a personal introduction to Malasaña Acompaña, a caring network created in the famous neighbourhood located in the heart of Madrid. The highlight, however, are the interviews to the people who have been involved in this network, collected in the series INTERVIEWS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, inaugurated by Eva Fuentes. The different testimonies and personal points of view of all the interviewees will make for a richer whole.

“My son and I were in Vigo visiting our family when the state of alarm was declared. It felt all so strange that I thought it best to stay there to be close to my father and my sister. Once it was clear that lockdown was going to take long, we decided to return home to Madrid.

We took a train on 7 April. When we arrived in the afternoon, I spotted a Malasaña Acompaña poster, and right there I decided to volunteer. I filled out a form and waited. I read the newspapers every day to keep up to date, so it wasn’t hard for me to imagine how truly desperate the situation was for many families.

It took them a while to answer. Later on, I learned that the reason for their lateness lied in their difficulty to find headquarters for the food bank after the closing of Casa 28. Finally, after a long wait, Ana Santos, responsible for managing volunteers, sent me an email saying they were counting on me to help them pick up food donations on Saturday, 2 May. We had been present in Malasaña’s markets and supermarkets, where locals donated food within their possibilities (they actually donated a lot), since Saturday, 25 April. Malasaña Acompaña’s first food parcels were given out to families on 28 April, the day Ana contacted.

Since I am a journalist, they suggested that I join the communication group. We held a Zoom meeting on 29 Wednesday, after which I created a Malasaña Acompaña Facebook page, which was launched on 3 May and which I am still using as much as I can.

This experience has meant a lot to me. It has given me tremendous joy, since I have met wonderful people, witnessed generosity and felt part of a community. However, I must say that after seeing firsthand the hardships many families are enduring as a result of the abandonment of the institutions and of an insane bureaucracy, I was left in shock. These families have also had to put with the lies and the folly of the regional and local governments, who don’t pursue nor want to pursue the common good — quite the opposite. Finally, I am certain that, after being on the streets helping others, I will do it again and again as long as there is so much injustice and inequality around me. During such surreal days, I thought a lot about the concept of aporophobia, coined by philosopher Adela Cortina, which describes the fear and rejection of poverty and poor people, and which is at the center of the abandonment and discrimination they suffer. Sadly, we have seen it in action with the selected confinements — go to work, but don’t go for a walk — imposed on southern Madrid. An attempt at segregation we must never forget. How and why are we allowing it to happen?”

Alexa Diéguez

 

The Malasaña – Conde Duque – Chueca Acompaña caring network, Malasaña Acompaña for short, was born in early 2020 as a natural continuation of the brave work developed by Adrián Rojas at his restaurant Casa 28, located on Calle Espíritu Santo. On 14 March, rather than closing, he started serving warm meals for free to people in need from the neighborhood.

The makeshift soup kitchen remained open for 42 consecutive days, six weeks in total. On 25 April, Adrián was forced to close as a result of the growing pressure from other neighbors and the local police, who complained about the noise people waiting in lines were making. On the first day, Casa 28 served 20 warm meals. On the last day, it served 280.

Adrián Rojas wasn’t alone. Soon a dozen people followed suit. Among them was Lola Beneyto Lantero, the second cook during those long weeks and the owner of El Lugarcito, the take-out restaurant she opened a few months ago on Calle Noviciado which is fortunately still open. Many businesses in the area haven’t been that lucky.

Several of the people who started Malasaña Acompaña had been helping Rojas at Casa 28. In fact, in the final moments, parcels of raw products from the soup kitchen’s pantry were given to families who would rather cook at home for a few days so they didn’t have to wait in line on Espiritu Santo every day.

This is how a network of volunteers began forming that would eventually become a food bank. Among its members are people who had been helping at Casa 28, members of the neighbourhood’s associative movements, members of Cuidados Madrid Centro, a wider network to which Malasaña Acompaña belongs, and other groups that appeared during the economic crisis, among them Plataforma La CuBa, which received considerable media attention during lockdown.

 

When the first food parcels were given, nobody imagined the food bank would be still as necessary in late September, six months after the state of alarm was declared

 

The Malasaña Acompaña warehouse was originally located in the cellar of the Ecologistas en Acción offices. When the first food lots were given out, the people involved in this spontaneous local network couldn’t imagine, even in their worst nightmares, that the food bank would be still as necessary in late September, six months after the state of alarm was declared. In fact, it is still supporting 50 percent of the families it did during the first wave.

As regards social services, the pandemic has revealed what many professionals were warning about — our system is slow, paternalistic, painfully bureaucratized, glaringly underfunded at all levels, and incapable of adapting to the different realities of the people they are supposed to be taking care of. The outcome is terrible, so much that, for example, Malasaña Acompaña has had to cover the basic needs of 23 babies for months because neither the local nor the regional governments have been there for them. In Madrid proper, about 5,000 babies have experienced the same problem, according to Redes de Cuidados de Madrid. Whatever happened to children’s rights? How will these babies, who have been starving for months, grow up?

Despite these structural deficiencies, the state of alarm declared on 14 March imposed exceptional measures to address an exceptional situation, always in the interest of the common good. As a consequence, the answer of the Madrid City Council hasn’t been up to the challenge. It has lacked the ability to provide municipal grants to families that were already outside their radar before lockdown, people living hand to mouth who have now become destitute. They failed to do it —or maybe they didn’t want to do it —, but it is clear that it was within their means to do something.

In this context, city council representatives have strived to vilify and hinder local caring networks instead of acting swiftly and be thankful to so many neighbours for their collective effort in the absence of municipal social services since 14 Mach, when all the available resources — offices, shelters, soup kitchens — were shut down, leaving the most vulnerable people in the city behind without any scruples.

Although several local government spokespeople claimed that the delay was due to the fact that the neighborhood networks had not provided them with the data of the families they had been supporting, the truth is that Malasaña Acompaña had delivered the aforementioned documents on 16 June, but nothing has changed since. Those who were not registered in the municipal lists aren’t receiving any public aid. It could also be said that requiring volunteers to undertake the task of collecting and systematizing personal data is a breach of duty — another failure to add to the list.

While waiting for the Family Card, which can be requested since Tuesday, 1 September, and which hopefully won’t become just a gesture of goodwill, the people who make up Malasaña Acompaña are right now in the process of setting up a date to close the food bank, but not before trying to provide the families they have been working with with some kind of support and reflecting on the best way to evolve as a group.

The time has come for the city council to pick up the ball. However, the opacity around the Family Card, as well as the lack of sanitary control in which the government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso has plunged us, does not bode well.

*