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Europe’s Bread Lines Get New Faces in Warning of Crisis to Come

  • Food banks see higher demand from professionals, self-employed
  • Higher income inequality could lead to voter backlash, unrest
People queue along the street to collect food aid from a distribution point at the Santa Anna church in Barcelona, on May 17.
People queue along the street to collect food aid from a distribution point at the Santa Anna church in Barcelona, on May 17.Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Giovanni Bruno, head of Italy’s food bank network Banco Alimentare, has never seen a crisis like the one sparked by the coronavirus: not only have requests for help surged by 40%, but the profile of those seeking help has changed.

Volunteers are seeing new faces among the overwhelming number of people who show up each day, unable to feed themselves. Many are workers and the self-employed who until the coronavirus lockdown had always been able to put a meal on the table.