Restos du Cœur: “The needs are particularly heavy this year”

The cross : What was the impact of the health crisis on the financial resources and needs of Restos du Cœur to help the most vulnerable?

Patrice Drouet : We have experienced a sharp drop in our financial resources. This is not the action of the public, which has again shown itself to be very present. Solidarity has absolutely not weakened. Around 75,000 volunteers will be present throughout France, at the entrance or in the parking lot of supermarkets, which have accepted to welcome them.

→ RE (READ). Les Restos du cœur launch their winter campaign in the midst of the economic crisis

Our cash flow was still hit hard by the health crisis, since the performances of the Enfoirés could not take place, which made us lose between 4 and 5 million euros compared to 2019. We still have was able to record the concert without an audience in order to produce the CD and DVD, which are available in supermarkets and on the restaurant’s online store. Each purchase distributes 17 meals.

The 34e national collection, in March 2020, enabled you to collect 7,400 tonnes of products, the equivalent of 7 million meals. What are your hopes and supply needs for this year?

PD: The needs are particularly heavy. We are counting on these CD and DVD sales to replenish the crates and allow us to continue buying what we will miss when the fundraising donations run out. The more donations there are this weekend, the less we will need to buy. This collection is absolutely vital. Unfortunately, nine departments (1) were forced to postpone the operation for health reasons. We hope that, despite everything, it will achieve the same success as the previous one.

These local donations allow us to have a greater diversity of products to offer. We need food, but also baby products, which are very expensive for families. Hygiene products are also in great demand. Some of our beneficiaries have to choose between buying food and buying shower gel, toothpaste or menstrual protection. The needs of students at this level are very strong.

Are the audiences seeking your help the same today as they were a year ago?

PD : What is currently called the new audiences for food donations, including students and more broadly young people under 25, already came to the Restos du Cœur before the crisis. But there are more and more of them. Today, about one in two people we assist is under 25. If we do nothing, it will be their children that we will soon see entering the restaurants. It is extremely difficult to see these generations of precarious people being created.

→ REPORT. Covid-19: the “shame” of students who have no more to eat

Those who were already in a precarious situation before Covid-19 are even more so, with a terrible risk of falling into poverty. Today, about 15% of those who push our door do so because the crisis pushed them there. What frightens us is that for the moment the State has implemented many shock absorbers, such as partial unemployment for example. We fear the day when they will disappear, and when hundreds of thousands of people will be left destitute. The coming months are very uncertain.


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