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No food for illegal residents and old people

25 April 2007 - The Zuidoost District no longer subsidises Regina Mac-Nack’s food bank, because it does not refuse ‘drug addicts, illegals and old people’, according to alderman Jude Kehla in today’s het Parool.

Instead of Mac-Nack’s food bank, Zuidoost now subsidises a distribution centre of the Amsterdam Food Bank (VBA). The VBA has almost no clients in Zuidoost, but according to Kehla this will soon change.

According to earlier reports, a conflict had arisen between the VBA and Mac-Nack because the latter would try to convert clients. Mac-Nack was at the ChristenUnie’s list of candidates for the 2006 district council elections.

However, according to Kehla (PvdA), the district has another reason not to support Mac-Nack anymore. He wants the food bank to direct its clients to an education or a job.

“Mac-Nack also helps drug addicts, illegals and old people, groups that do not fall into that category”. As far as Kehla is concerned, these groups should turn to religious organisations for help. “The government cannot give food to illegals. If we would do that, a thousand people would turn up in no time”.

Kehla, a cultural anthropologist, did research among illegal residents in de Bijlmer in the 1990s, as part of a research project directed by Godfried Engbersen. One of the conclusions was that illegals depend on churches and tribal organisations for their survival.


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