The appeal of the Restos du Coeur, revealing the difficulties of an entire sector faced with the increase in needs

During a collection of Restos du Coeur in front of a supermarket in Plessis-Robinson (Hauts-de-Seine), March 4, 2023.

“We had never, in the past, had to deal with such a request”we recognize on the side of the Food Banks as well as the Secours Populaire, founded respectively in 1984 and 1945. “We are sailing in uncharted territory”, completes the National ociation for the Development of Solidarity Groceries (Andes). The major food aid ociations all tell of a situation that continues to deteriorate and which, despite their warnings in recent months, is only being considered now.

Since the call for help launched on Sunday, September 3 by Les Restos du Coeur, and the speech of the Minister of Solidarity, Aurore Bergé, the announcements have indeed succeeded: 10 million euros by the family of Bernard Arnault (LVMH)5 million euros by TotalEnergies, approximately 500,000 euros by the players of the French football team, collections and donations from Carrefour, Les Mousquetaires and the Altice group… Crédit Mutuel, which had already made a donation of 5 million euros in March to the ociation, let it be known that it will pay 5 million to Food Banks and 7.5 million to the French Red Cross, which has also appealed for helpMonday, September 4, fearing to end the year with a deficit of between 45 and 50 million euros.

While the major ociations are delighted with these announcements, all insist on the need to go further. Where do their difficulties come from? Inflation at work for about two years weighs twice: “On the one hand, aid needs are increasing because people are unable to cope alone with the rise in food prices, and, on the other hand, our costs are increasing, whether to pay for energy or to buy food”sums up Barbara Mauvilain, head of institutional relations for food banks.

“The numbers have more than tripled”

The needs have not only reached a historic level, but they are also growing at an unprecedented speed. The Restaurants of the heart have already counted 1.3 million people registered for their distributions this year, up 20% compared to the 2022 record. provide food welcomed 2.4 million people in 2022 and, in the first quarter of 2023 alone, the increase was 9%. “It increased after the financial crisis of 2008, then with the Covid, and there is never a reflux. The numbers have more than tripled in ten years.notes Barbara Mauvilain. “There is a considerable increase in precariousness: we welcome more students, more people who work, more retirees… And 5% own their homes”describes the director general of Secours populaire, Thierry Robert.

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