The study shows that 92 percent of people who get their meals from soup kitchens consider the food support to be essential.
Nearly half of those interviewed said that after their mandatory spending they are left with just 100 euros or less each month for other expenses.
About 33 percent of the persons interviewed came from families with children. Some 49 percent said that they had been lining up for meals weekly for the past year.
Education no defense against poverty
Education is no defense against poverty, the study found. Just over half of individuals lining up for free meals say they’ve completed secondary education, researcher Saija Turunen explained.
“Bread lines don’t only provide for those with little education or no education at all,” she said.
Roughly 40 percent of the survey respondents said they were embarrassed to line up for free meals, and preferred not to be seen in bread lines by their acquaintances.
Turunen said that the study marks the first time that Helsinki city officials have gathered information about residents who take advantage of free meals.
The Helsinki Social Welfare Centre Socca interviewed 905 respondents at food distribution points in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa as part of a national study.