There is really an “aggravation of the precariousness of the most deprived, in particular among people whom we already know”. This is the observation of the president of Restos du Cœur, Patrice Douret, on the opening day of the association’s 37th annual campaign.
The Covid-19 pandemic marked the spirits last year, with the lengthening of the queues in front of the food distribution centers. And the pressure is not decreasing: the association, created by Coluche, has helped 1.2 million people since November 2020 and distributed 142 million meals, against 136 million the previous year.
More than making “new poor”, the Covid-19 epidemic has especially depressed those who were already weakened, according to the association.
More than half (53%) of its beneficiaries say they have suffered a loss of income related to the health crisis, while 15% admit that it has forced them to push the door of Restaurants.
40% of the beneficiaries of the Restaurants are minors
“The reproduction of precariousness worries us more than ever”, indicated the president of Restaurants, particularly worried about the difficulties encountered by young people and single mothers with children; 40% of the beneficiaries of the Restaurants are minors. “We are really afraid that the economic recovery suggested by the indicators will exclude these most precarious populations.”
On the eve of the presidential election, the government is currently praising the effects of its policy of “whatever the cost” – support for partial unemployment and exceptional aid paid to the most modest.
“Certain situations of poverty have worsened”
In addition to a decline in unemployment, he was particularly pleased at the beginning of November with a provisional estimate from INSEE, which shows that the poverty rate remained stable in 2020, contrary to the feared explosion. This does not prevent that “certain situations of poverty have worsened thanks to the crisis”, according to the statistical institute.
Last week, Secours Catholique sounded the alarm in a report that “nearly 10% of the population” is forced to resort to food aid. Between 5 and 7 million people benefited from this aid in 2020, compared to 5.5 million in 2017.
The Federation of Food Banks, which is organizing its large national collection over three days from November 26 to 28, is also worried about “the constant increase in the number” of its beneficiaries, which grew by 6% in 2020 and continues to grow. increase this year.
Through the various confinements, the isolation of the most precarious has further accentuated. In an attempt to curb this phenomenon, the Restos du Cœur are trying to find all those who do not dare to go to their premises, or do not have the means to do so. The association has thus launched itinerant centers in rural areas: it hopes to double their number and reach 60 mobile services of this type in the coming months. Its street food distributions have also increased by 25% over the past two years.
It is also trying to obtain many products in short circuit to improve the quality of the baskets distributed. To do this, she calls for an improvement in the management of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, which finances one in four meals at Restaurants.
The French “show exceptional generosity”
Faced with growing inequalities, the French “are showing exceptional generosity, which we will still need”, blows the association leader. The year 2020 was marked by a record of donations to associations, according to the France Générosités barometer.