“A lot of different food has arrived, I don’t even know what kind of food it is, just a lot of different food,” says Miguel Barros with a shy smile. A week earlier, the cupboards in his home were completely empty of groceries. But this Saturday, August 6th, mountains of food are pouring into every corner of the little boy’s kitchen. A small miracle that came about thanks to his courageous initiative.
Hungry and tired of only being fed cornmeal diluted with water, the 11-year-old child began calling the police to report that he and his siblings had nothing to eat. The officer who received the call dispatched police to the scene, believing it to be a case of domestic neglect. “They (the police) looked in the cupboards and there was nothing there, just cornmeal and the boys didn’t want any more, their stomachs couldn’t take it anymore. Seeing this situation, they said, “Hey, we thought it was abuse, but that’s because you can’t afford it, right?” “I answered yes, I was really hungry,” says Célia Arquimino Barros, Miguel’s mother and an unemployed civilian firefighter.
The police then went to the supermarket to take groceries to the family, part paid out of pocket and the other offered by the company’s manager, to whom they had explained the reason for their presence in the neighborhood. The case became public, affected all of Brazil, and donations began to flow. “There are so, so many donations that I, who had nothing, now have enough to be able to help other people,” explains Célia Arquimino Barros proudly.
This year, for the first time since 2014, Brazil reappeared on the UN’s ‘world hunger map’, with 28.9% of the population living in a moderate or severe state of ‘food insecurity’.