Needy turn to Caritas shops more often
Sales at grocery shops of the Catholic charity Caritas in Switzerland, which cater solely for those in need, are booming, despite the flourishing Swiss economy.
Purchases at the shops reached a record SFr4.2 million ($4.08 million) in 2007, up 51 per cent over the previous year.
Caritas said the figures showed that "poverty is on the rise in Switzerland and that without the products on offer in the grocery stores, many families could not satisfy their basic needs".
The organisation, which is based in Lucerne, said that it opened two new shops in 2007, bringing their number to 15.
Caritas stores are open only to people who have a card confirming they are living below the poverty line, are dependent on social security or who are trying to climb out of debt.
The Federal Statistics Office reported last month that around 380,000 people were living below the poverty line, representing nine per cent of the Swiss population group aged 20-59.
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