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Seventh social supermarket to open in Vienna

A seventh "social supermarket" has opened in Vienna to cater for the increasing numbers of people living in poverty in Austria’s capital. The supermarket is hoped to open in April, selling goods at almost a third of their normal price to those living on a critically low income.

In order to shop at the special supermarkets around the city, visitors must present a shopping pass with their proof of income on it. Around 42,000 people are registered with the social supermarkets, a small proportion of the 200,000 people in Vienna who are believed to be at risk from poverty.

Three of the current six supermarkets which exist in locations around the city are owned by social and charitable organisations including "Hilfswerk Wien" and the "Samariterbund", both of whom provide an extensive network of care for those living in poverty in Vienna. A further three supermarkets in the districts of Favoriten, Hernals and Simmering are privately owned. Alexander Schiel who currently owns two private social supermarkets plans to open the seventh in Donaustadt in April.

According to Schiel the number of visitors to the supermarkets has recently increased with people now shopping there who had previously been too embarrassed. The majority of the shoppers are pensioners and single mothers.

The most commonly purchased products are bread and milk products as well as hygiene stuffs such as shampoo and soap. According to the Samariterbund, it is however becoming increasingly difficult to source and provide sufficient goods with the supermarkets needing more donations from companies, in particular those providing baby and pet food.
The various social supermarkets are dependent on donations from businesses, farms and other such industrial producers. These outlets often offer staple foods such as bread, flour, sugar, pasta, rice and household goods such as toilet paper and soap.

Households in Vienna who have a monthly net income of less than 900 Euros are able to purchase the discounted goods from the charitable supermarkets with a maximum of 30 Euros to be spent by each beneficiary on a maximum of three shops per week.

For more information on the locations of the "social supermarkets" visit: http://www.wien.gv.at/sozialinfo/content/de/10/Institutions.do?senseid=1500

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