Carla Lacerda used to earn a good salary selling duty-free goods to holidaymakers at Algarve airport in southern Portugal.
Now she’s had to join the queue for food donations.
She lost her job last August due to the global health crisis and quickly ran out of cash to feed her two kids.
The 40-year-old now receives around $590 per month in unemployment benefits.
“I never thought about this. Some people might be ashamed to come here and I only have to thank them. I’m not ashamed at all of being here. It’s sad I’ve reached this point, but I’m not ashamed. ”
Lacerda is one of the thousands of people who now relies on food banks and charities after tourism in the region was badly hit by travel restrictions.
In February, the number of jobless in the Algarve jumped 74 percent from a year ago, more than in any other Portuguese region.
Algarve’s food bank is now helping 29,000 people, almost double the number before the pandemic.
Paula Matias, a coordinator at Refood – a charity that collects unwanted food from restaurants and distributes to the needy, said architects, teachers and nurses are showing up at their door.
British retiree Denise Dahl set up her own organisation, “East Algarve Families in Need”.
“The situation is getting desperately worse, with the lack of tourists coming in this year we expect even more families going hungry.”
Portugal has been under a second strict lockdown since January.
It is only now gradually being eased.