As Hungary's finance crisis deepens, food bank donations are drying up
Pablo Gutierrez in Budapest

Food prices in Hungary have skyrocketed. The increase has forced many families to rely on food banks to get the help they need, but the demand is so high that the food banks are in need of help themselves.

Every day more families get their groceries from charities that help feed the needy in Budapest. For many, supermarkets are no longer an option.

"We feel it every day, everything is getting more expensive," said Judit Szabo, who gets food donations from charities. "My son has a learning disability and requires special help, which makes things harder."

Szabo is employed but says her wages are not enough to feed her family: "Without this charity, I don't know what we would do."


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Food prices in Hungary have jumped 27 percent over the past year – the largest increase in decades. It's caused food sales to fall by half a percent over the last two months.

"This could be the first sign of a recession coming into Hungary," said Peter Virovacz, senior economist with ING. "Whether it will be a technical recession or a deep recession, remains to be seen."

Just as food banks are need most, supply is drying up. /CGTN

Just as food banks are need most, supply is drying up. /CGTN

Economists warn that food prices will continue to rise – putting even more pressure on the charities working to help those in need.

Each year, the Hungarian Food Bank Association helps feed 250,000 people. The downturn in the country's economy has increased the demand, but not the donations received to assist the needy.

"The need is growing everywhere and we cannot supply everyone, because our efforts depend on the volume of the food we can rescue and save," said association representative Andras Nagygyoogy.

Hungary's government doesn't provide assistance to food banks, with most of the donations coming from corporate partners.

The government has capped the price of certain basic food items until October. But the cost of other goods continues to soar.

If the trend continues, safety nets for needy families will be in peril.

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