Nantou County food banks to begin offering food aid next month 南投縣食物銀行開辦 四月先發實物

Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - Page 11

Prices are on the rise again, making life more difficult for the poor. The Nantou County Government is expediting its plans for opening food banks. Some food will be made available as early as the beginning of April, while food stamps are expected to be available by the end of April and early May. Local government offices will be in charge of quickly supplying food stamps to the poor, who will then be able to exchange stamps for lunchbox meals and bread at convenience stores.

Prices increased once again during the Lantern Festival. Pork, eggs and nearly all daily goods have seen price fluctuations, putting a heavy burden on the poor. The first food bank in the entire county has been set up in Caotun Township. The number of people applying for aid since the Lunar New Year has skyrocketed. The local district office’s social affairs department says that by the end of last year less than 200 people had applied, while by the middle of this month 350 people had already applied this year.

Caotun Township Office also discovered that among the applicants considered to be poor, one lives in Nantou City while being registered to a household in Caotun Township. He hopes to also procure daily goods and three warm meals a day. He is not eligible for aid, however, because he has lived in Nantou City for so many years, which highlights how the number of county residents in need of food banks has risen.

For this reason, the county government has sped up planning for setting up the food banks. Lin Jung-sen, head of the local government’s Social Affairs Department, says that funding for the county’s food banks is currently around NT$15 million (US$492,433). The food bank will be concentrating on two areas — providing food aid and distributing food stamps. Food aid will be carried out similar to the Caotun food bank, allowing the local government office to manage it to avoid giving out food repeatedly to the same person and wasting resources.

Food stamps will be offered in two forms — cash vouchers and merchandise gift certificates. Village and borough officials from local government offices will be in charge of appraising and allocating stamps. Once a poor person receives stamps, they can go to local convenience stores to exchange the stamps for lunchboxes or bread. If there are no convenience stores in the area, the stamps can be traded at local buffet restaurants or snack establishments for lunchboxes or bread.

Due to fears that poor people might not know how to apply with local officials for food stamps, staff at selected convenience stores will also be given the authority to give lunchboxes or bread to those in urgent need and put them up for review afterwards. If it is discovered that the person is not actually poor, food stamps will not be given to them again.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

物價再度上揚,弱勢民眾生活更加困難,南投縣府加快籌辦食物銀行腳步,實物發放部分,最快可在四月初展開,而餐食券發放,擬四月下旬到五月開辦,將授權各公所,方便有需要的弱勢戶快速領取餐食券,到超商換便當或麵包。

物價在元宵節再度上揚,豬肉、雞蛋及各種民生物資幾乎都有波動,弱勢民眾的負擔更形沈重,全縣率先開辦的草屯鎮食物銀行,過年後申請濟助的戶數激增。鎮公所社會課表示,去年底申請戶不到二百戶,但到三月已達三百廿五戶。

草屯鎮公所也發現,申請的弱勢戶中,有實際住在南投市而戶籍還在草屯鎮的民眾,希望也能領取民生物資求三餐溫飽,惟因他已居住南投市多年而未予以核准,凸顯對食物銀行有需求的縣民增多。

有鑑於此,縣府籌設全縣食物銀行的速度也跟著加快,社會處長林榮森表示,全縣食物銀行的經費,目前有一千五百萬元,該銀行將分實物援助和餐食券發放兩部分,實物援助的做法與已開辦的草屯食物銀行類似,將由公所把關,以免重複發放,造成資源的浪費。

至於餐食券發放,將設現金券或商品禮券兩種,由公所的村里幹事核定及發放,弱勢民眾拿到後,可直接赴超商換便當、麵包食用,若該聚落沒有超商,即向自助餐店或小吃店換便當或麵食。

為了怕弱勢民眾不知如何向村里幹事申請餐食券,將來也會請超商店員認定,讓有急迫需要的民眾先拿便當或麵包,再事後審查,萬一該民眾非弱勢戶,下次就不要再發放餐食券給他。

(自由時報記者陳鳳麗)