German food bank reverses move to bar more foreigners

BERLIN — A food bank in western Germany has reversed a three-month old decision to prevent more foreigners from accessing its services, a move that drew criticism from aid groups and politicians.

The Essen food bank started excluding non-German citizens as new users in January, saying it was a temporary measure. It said the number of users who were migrants had reached about three-quarters of those it helped, and that some elderly people and women had been scared away by them.

News agency dpa reported that food bank head Joerg Sartor said new access cards will be available regardless of nationality effective Wednesday. He said Tuesday that the proportion of foreign users was down to about 45 percent.

Germany has about 930 food banks that provide basic goods to people who depend on state benefits.

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