The Tafel in Germany accuse the authorities of sometimes giving too little direct support to Ukrainian war refugees.

“It is unacceptable that authorities are still referring refugees to the boards in the fourth month of the war instead of being able to help themselves,” said Jochen Brühl, the chairman of the German food bank, the German Press Agency.

Some social welfare offices sent refugees directly to the food banks without prior consultation, said Brühl. Others would help the people directly – for example with money or food vouchers – until the social benefits to which they are entitled were paid out.

The boards themselves could only provide “bridging and supplementary” support. “We help to the best of our ability in crisis situations, but we cannot be the first and only point of contact,” emphasized Brühl.

If the authorities refer people directly to the food banks, then the misunderstanding arises that they are responsible for providing people affected by poverty with food. However, panels are a voluntary additional offer, not a state institution.

On request, the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs also called the panels a “supplementary, charitable offer from civil society to people with financial problems”. This also applies to refugees from Ukraine. Since June 1st, they have had access to the minimum income according to Book II of the Social Code.

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In addition, panels are places of encounter, the ministry continues. That is why a project of the Tafeln is being supported, in which the employees are to be trained for discussions. According to the ministry, you should speak to people who ask for food. The employees should thus be better able to inform those affected about social benefit entitlements and to support them. “Ultimately, the actual utilization of existing social benefit entitlements also contributes to relieving the burden on the food banks,” said the ministry spokeswoman.