Fri Jul 12, 2024
July 12, 2024

Solidarity kitchen distributes food and water to those affected by climate catastrophe in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Class solidarity has been promoted in campaign carried out by CSP-Conlutas and PSTU.

By: Roberto Aguiar

Ana Rita, a Porto Alegre Municipal Health worker and PSTU militant, together with her niece Melanie (Mel), created a solidarity canteen to help those in need after the climate catastrophe that hit Porto Alegre. They are organzing the distribution of food and water to the people who have been left homeless and in need due to flooding, and the workers and volunteers who have been involved in the rescue of people and animals.

The campaign began on May 4, on the social network account of “Confeitaria da Mel” (Mel’s Confectionary), which has thousands of followers, with a request for contributions.

“On the May 6, the first lunch boxes started to be delivered. The productive structure was developed around the confectionery, located in the South Zone of Porto Alegre, involving family members, employees, friends, relatives, and party militants. From the May 8 on, a new structure was organized at home, involving other party militants, sympathizers and my neighbors. The cafeteria became a place to receive donations,” said Ana Rita.

“A chain of solidarity was being built. As we said, it’s worker helping worker. The lunches and snacks are for the homeless and for the workers involved in the rescue actions, the volunteers and the cleaning staff, who are working in the shelters,” she added.

Vila Esperança

The delivery of food and water took place mainly in Vila Esperança, in the Belém Velho neighborhood. This action has counted on the support of the neighborhood residents, such as Jéssica, a cashier, currently unemployed, who has contributed with the distribution.

“This region is home to many street vendors, who work in the central area of the city, and recyclable waste collectors, who are unable to work due to flooding. We suffer constantly with the lack of water and electricity. The creek here has overflowed, flooding some streets. Sometimes it even floods some houses,” Jéssica reported.

She explained how the lunch boxes are delivered to the local population: “There is an organization through WhatsApp groups. When the meals arrive, the residents are notified and they come to my house. Most of the time it is the children who come to pick them up. This food serves to alleviate the precarious situation in which the residents are living.”

CSP-Conlutas solidarity campaign

The national financial campaign carried out by the CSP-Conlutas, with the support of the PSTU, has contributed to the purchase of food for the solidarity canteen. “It has been an important campaign. For this reason, we ask that contributions continue to be made. All of Brazil is involved,” highlighted Ana Rita.

The Mané Garrincha School also contributed to the solidarity kitchen, which has become a reference as a shelter, reception, and donation space. Resplande de Sá, director of the school, with the support and involvement of the community, has developed important self-organized solidarity actions.

Other actions

In addition to the solidarity dining room and the work at the Mané Garrincha School, PSTU militants have participated in other solidarity actions, such as Fabiana Sanguiné, who is a pre-candidate for mayor of Porto Alegre. A nursing assistant, she has been working in the shelters with a team of volunteers from the hospital where she works.

“We are doing what we can to help. It is a huge tragedy. We have to develop solidarity actions among us, the working class, who are the majority of those affected. We are developing these actions, but without ceasing to demand the necessary actions from the governments, because all governments, businessmen and agri-billionaires are responsible for this tragedy,” concluded Fabiana.

Solidarity campaigns are being carried out all over Brazil

Besides the financial campaign carried out by the CSP-Conlutas, supported by the PSTU, the militants of the party and of the trade union center also carried out other actions, such as the collection of food and water to be sent to Rio Grande do Sul.

In Belém, capital of Pará, in the Northern Region of Brazil, the Union of Civil Construction Workers (affiliated to CSP-Conlutas) is collecting food and water at construction sites.

Construction workers embrace their class siblings

“At our board meeting we discussed how we would join the CSP-Conlutas campaign. We are a union that always contributes to solidarity campaigns. But this time we decided not to contribute only financially. We decided to take this discussion to the worksites, to debate the solidarity campaign and to have a political discussion about what is happening in Rio Grande do Sul and who is responsible for this tragedy,” explains worker Ailson Cunha, general coordinator of the union.

“We made a division of the team of directors and started going to the construction sites. We put a sound cart circulating through the streets of Belém. We also put up a banner at the union’s headquarters. The action turned out to be the right move, since the workers embraced the campaign and are making contributions. We are still contributing to this solidarity action,” concluded Ailson.

Article published in, 16/5/2024

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