Poverty in Tyrol increases: when even the bare minimum is scarce


Mitarbeiter der Tafel des Roten Kreuzes packen Essenspakete für Bedürftige ab. Derzeit haben sie viel zu tun.

© Rotes Kreuz Tirol

From pink carbon

Innsbruck – More and more Tyroleans can no longer afford to shop at the grocery store around the corner. There are social institutions for them, such as the Tyrolean Social Market (TISO) in Innsbruck or the Team Austria table of the Red Cross. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people using these institutions has increased.

“We want to have as few customers as possible,” says Michaela Landauer from the TISO store in Innsbruck, summarizing the goal, which is quite unusual for a grocery store. Social markets are primarily intended to ensure the daily need for basic food for people with low incomes. The food distributed there is made available to the nine Tyrolean social markets by regional restaurants and retailers free of charge. Goods that would otherwise be thrown away can be passed on to those in need at low prices. “We portion large sticks of sausage or cheese into smaller quantities, vacuum and label them and then give them out to our customers,” explains Landauer. The markets almost never have a surplus of food, “as soon as the goods come in, they are already bought”. The TISO store in Innsbruck’s Adamgasse has now been in existence for 16 years and acts as a hub for the eight other shops in the districts. The shops are now so broad that there is almost the same range as in a regular grocery store, says Landauer.

Social markets are only intended to serve as a temporary solution for those in need. “Anyone who needs help is welcome to get in touch,” emphasizes Landauer and cites the story of a man who immigrated to Tyrol several years ago as an example. When he came to Innsbruck, the TISO store was a start-up aid. He did an apprenticeship as a chef, got a good job and from then on was no longer dependent on this help. “Due to the consequences of the pandemic, he has been unemployed for a year and is back with us,” says Landauer. In the past few weeks, more and more people have come from the AMS who have now definitely lost their jobs. “A surprising number of new customers were originally active in the catering and hotel industries. Nobody should shy away from registering. ”First-time customers only have to provide their key data and show their financial situation. The income limit for individuals is 1000 euros, for married couples it is 1300 euros. You can then shop up to three times a week for a maximum of ten euros. For those who come from outside the city, weekly shopping of around 30 euros is also possible.

The Team Austria board of the Red Cross is an additional contact point in Tyrol for those who do not have enough money to live on a month. The board in Innsbruck has noted a customer increase of around 30 percent since the beginning of the Corona crisis. “We can feel this additional third, but we are not yet at the limit,” explains Jasmin Dietrich, head of the table in Innsbruck. The Red Cross in Innsbruck currently cares for around 130 needy people every Saturday, the number rises to 150 and new solutions are needed. There was also no getting around an alternative concept for serving food due to the current regulations. In the meantime, ready-made meal packages are packed, which are given out according to the size of the family. “We have divided our customers into four groups with different times of the day, which rotate weekly in the sequence – they all used to be on site at the same time,” says Dietrich.

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The issue also takes place mostly outdoors, the contact should be as short as possible. “Unfortunately, personal conversations with people are almost completely eliminated,” regrets the head of the Innsbruck food bank. Jasmin Dietrich is pleased with the large number of new employees who registered last year. Inquiries would come in again and again. “Many want to help those in need. I am happy about everyone who supports us, ”she says. 65 volunteers are currently deployed.

In the state capital, a working group is currently dealing with an application that has been approved by the municipal council. This provides that donors can buy TISO vouchers and send them to begging people. When this will be implemented is still open.

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Poverty Tyrol increases bare minimum scarce


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