• BreakThrough Staff

“What united us was empathy:” Community organizations help tackle hunger in Argentina


Julieta Brancatto: Community Kitchen in the Rinconcito of Padre Varela. Kitchen located in the Padre Varela neighborhood in Luján.

The pandemic brought with it more inequality and injustice. Grassroots movements responded with solidarity and organization and food for those who were struggling

What will the world be like when we emerge from the pandemic? Will we have a fairer and more caring world? Will there be a decline in individualism and a debunking of the myth of meritocracy? These were some of the questions that analysts, politicians, journalists and society as a whole asked themselves at the beginning of this global pandemic.


The hope that this health crisis would become the engine for a more just world and the teachings of collective care faded as the pandemic advanced with increasing force. As the pandemic intensified, the philosophy of ‘every man for himself’ was embraced by most governments across the world, instead of ‘we will come out of this better and all of us together.’ Social movements had to fill the void.


After more than a year and a half of isolation, evidence shows that the world has not changed. The pandemic deepened pre-existing social inequalities and the beneficiaries were the same as always.


2020 saw billionaires increasing their wealth by $5 trillion and an unprecedented rise in their numbers. Data published in January 2020 by OXFAM indicated that the richest 1% percent (around 2150 people) had more wealth than 60% of the world's population (around 4.6 billion people).


Inequality and poverty also grew in the world, particularly in Latin America. Data from The World published in June 2021 indicated that an additional 97 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.


ARGENTINA IS GOING BACKWARDS


In Argentina, the data released by INDEC at the end of March 2021 is conclusive in this regard: 42% of the population is living below the poverty line (one point more than during the second half of 2019) and 10.5% of the population is in extreme poverty (two points more with respect to the same period). The aggravating factor for those in extreme poverty is the gap between the average family income and the price for the basic food basket. This gap has been widening regularly as a result of uncontrolled inflation. In other words, those who are below the extreme poverty line are getting poorer and poorer. This shows that the pandemic has fundamentally affected those who have the least and has deepened social inequality.


The most affected by the crisis are young people: nearly 8.3 million girls and boys are living in monetary poverty, that is, 62.9% of the total population of children and adolescents. And 2.4 million are in extreme poverty.


In this context, the national government, through the M