Monday 24 December 2012

I care and I share

Thousands of Athenians flocked to Syntagma Square yesterday, 23 December, to donate clothes, food and toys for families affected by the economic crisis.  Almost 3,000,000 Greeks, in a population of less than 11,000,000 live below the poverty line due to the recent austerity measures.
People of all ages patiently queued in the cold to participate in the 'I care, I share' initiative which was organised by the Athens Municipality and the Mega Television Channel. The event superceded all expectations: people started coming to Syntagma Square at 9:00 in the morning and they were still coming at 9:00 at night.
The nine lorries that were originally organised for the event were far from enough even though they kept being loaded, driven to the warehouses and then brought back. Soon, the warehouses were full and more space had to be found.
There were pensioners there who have had their pensions cut by almost half who went to the supermarket to buy groceries to donate. Children gave up their toys so that children who would otherwise have had to do without, could have a Christmas present.
The mayor of Athens said: 'this event is unprecedented. Something like this could only have happened during the German occupation in the 1940s when Greece was starving'.
At around 10:00 at night, the people who were still in Syntagma formed a human chain to help load the lorries.

Photographs by Michalis.