France is a country of commitment! Before the Covid-19 crisis, there were no less than 20 million volunteers in France, or one in three French people. Commitment and donations jumped during the lockdown. Today, volunteers embody the whole word fraternity written on the pediments of our town halls and schools.
Giving time in the service of the general interest, for the common good, is in our French DNA. The State must obviously assume its part, preponderant, structural. The crisis confronts us and does not spare the world of volunteering. The virus constantly puts us under an injunction: giving time, supporting those who have less, those who need it most, while reducing our interactions, is one more paradox imposed on us by Covid-19. The virus escapes us but nobody escapes it in their daily life. No one should stay one-on-one with the crisis.
The months of November and December will be crucial for all the associations mobilized in the fight against poverty. It is during this period that the collection operations are carried out, which represent a large part of the resources to meet the needs of the coming year. Today, it is imperative that we mobilize. Always respecting all barrier gestures. That everyone goes back to the front line as during confinement to support associations, support volunteers, to relieve and take over from those who have been giving so much since mid-March, whether in direct contact with beneficiaries or to take responsibility in association governance. It is up to everyone to support, to maintain the link in all the territories of France until the last kilometer of the most remote corners, because yes, there again, the commitment does not escape the rule of territorial inequalities. The needs are great and there is urgency. Youth is a solution to this need for renewal of resources and skills in management or in the field.
The civic reserve (jeveuxaider.gouv.fr) and the intermediation platforms for volunteering in France such as that of the Bénévolat collective (benevolat.fr) are our tools and our guides to allow everyone, depending on their situation, to make their contribution to these times of crisis. One-off volunteering or longer-term commitment, everything is precious for the months to come to avoid exhaustion in this lasting crisis. More than a help, civic service also remains for all approved associations and for our young people a solution to respond forcefully to the need for support and skills.
The needs for mutual assistance and listening in the weeks and months to come will be multiple, in physical or in distance, everyone can find their place and their meaning. Some of the young volunteers of the universal national service have found theirs by committing to their mission of general interest with the French Federation of Food Banks for the large annual fundraising. Companies are also getting involved, for example through skills sponsorship. All of them work every day to create a society, a society of united citizens.
We are collectively the solution to the crisis, young and old alike, urban and rural alike. By respecting barrier gestures, by respecting physical distancing, it is only together, the State, associations, elected officials, companies and committed, that we will be able to fight the epidemic and leave no one by the wayside.
The commitment of each other brings our national solidarity to life and anchors us in this common history that we are living, this crisis binds us in this common destiny, because it is only united that the Republic protects all its children.