Wednesday, 26 January, 2022

In the midst of a health crisis, the difficult mission of Restos du Coeur


The association founded by Coluche is launching its 36th winter campaign this Tuesday, complicated by health constraints and the influx of new registrants. Current stocks should be sufficient for this year, but the situation could deteriorate in the long term.

The volunteers of the Restos du Coeur see their task complicated by the health measures related to Covid-19.

This is one of the most feared effects of the health crisis. Temporary workers, fixed-term contracts, students, auto-entrepreneurs… thousands of people could fall into poverty, sometimes in a lasting way. “These are people who managed to hold on but whose situation was fragile. There, they pass to the other side, ”sighs Yves Merillon, administrator of Restos du Coeur. The association, which is launching its new winter campaign on Tuesday, is preparing to take up a double challenge, between the influx of new beneficiaries and the constraints linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The outlook is not rosy. While it is complicated to accurately assess the extent of the phenomenon, “we know that our activity is correlated with the unemployment curve,” recalls the manager. The financial crisis of 2008 could unfortunately have set an example: the number of registrants jumped 15% in the first year, and 25% over two years. Even more worrying: these “new poor” have mostly remained so.

“This week, for example, we have 10% more registrants compared to the same time a year ago”, indicates Yves Merillon, suggesting an explosion if economic activity does not quickly return to normal . Not to mention the people on the street, whose census is complicated but whose increase is estimated at 40% by the association.

European aid on the rise

Not surprisingly, the task of some 73,000 volunteers is complicated by the health measures in force. The main difficulty is the premises, which are not large enough and therefore unsuitable for respecting barrier gestures. For the distribution of meals, a “drive” system has been set up. But the social bond, which the Restos du Coeur strives to forge, is considerably reduced. Help with administrative procedures, French lessons, “we are not just a distributor of cans,” recalls Yves Merillon.

Another particularity of this winter campaign: the drop in the number of volunteers in the field, since the vast majority of them are retired. During the first confinement decided in March, all those over 70 were asked to stay at home. And today, 40% of the troops are still in retreat. Fortunately, working people, especially those who benefit from partial unemployment, have joined the ranks.

The period nevertheless brings its share of good news, all relative. On the one hand, the solidarity of the French was widely expressed, with a marked increase during the first 11 months of the year. On the other hand, and while one in three meals is financed by European aid, these have been revised upwards. Next year, the Restos du Coeur should receive some 19 million euros from the European Social Fund (ESF +). As a result, “we don’t have a stock problem for this year. But we are more worried for the long term ”, summarizes the person in charge.

Read also:

Our selection of articles on the coronavirus:

– The situation in France

ANIMATED INFOGRAPHIC – The evolution of the coronavirus in France

DOSSIER – The epidemic figures and the health situation in France

IN FIGURES – follow the day-to-day evolution of epidemic indicators by department

– In the world

How China went from scarcity to overproduction of masks

Why Italy is on the verge of a social explosion

– Economy and businesses

SURVEY – How SME bosses are experiencing the second wave of Covid

Tax revenues resist despite re-containment

Companies authorized to screen their employees

– The vaccine race

Where is the vaccine race in one infographic

PODCAST – Covid-19: a vaccine, soon?

– Science

Covid and Ibuprofen: the French exception

The asymptomatic would be more affected by the loss of antibodies

Reinfection cases intrigue researchers

– Patrimony

Real estate: everything that is allowed or prohibited during this new confinement

5 solutions to optimize your savings despite the crisis

The association founded by Coluche is launching its 36th winter campaign this Tuesday, complicated by health constraints and the influx of new registrants. Current stocks should be sufficient for this year, but the situation could deteriorate in the long term.

The volunteers of the Restos du Coeur see their task complicated by the health measures related to Covid-19.

This is one of the most feared effects of the health crisis. Temporary workers, fixed-term contracts, students, auto-entrepreneurs… thousands of people could fall into poverty, sometimes in a lasting way. “These are people who managed to hold on but whose situation was fragile. There, they pass to the other side, ”sighs Yves Merillon, administrator of Restos du Coeur. The association, which is launching its new winter campaign on Tuesday, is preparing to take up a double challenge, between the influx of new beneficiaries and the constraints linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The outlook is not rosy. While it is complicated to accurately assess the extent of the phenomenon, “we know that our activity is correlated with the unemployment curve,” recalls the manager. The financial crisis of 2008 could unfortunately have set an example: the number of registrants jumped 15% in the first year, and 25% over two years. Even more worrying: these “new poor” have mostly remained so.

“This week, for example, we have 10% more registrants compared to the same time a year ago”, indicates Yves Merillon, suggesting an explosion if economic activity does not quickly return to normal . Not to mention the people on the street, whose census is complicated but whose increase is estimated at 40% by the association.

European aid on the rise

Not surprisingly, the task of some 73,000 volunteers is complicated by the health measures in force. The main difficulty is the premises, which are not large enough and therefore unsuitable for respecting barrier gestures. For the distribution of meals, a “drive” system has been set up. But the social bond, which the Restos du Coeur strives to forge, is considerably reduced. Help with administrative procedures, French lessons, “we are not just a distributor of cans,” recalls Yves Merillon.

Another particularity of this winter campaign: the drop in the number of volunteers in the field, since the vast majority of them are retired. During the first confinement decided in March, all those over 70 were asked to stay at home. And today, 40% of the troops are still in retreat. Fortunately, working people, especially those who benefit from partial unemployment, have joined the ranks.

The period nevertheless brings its share of good news, all relative. On the one hand, the solidarity of the French was widely expressed, with a marked increase during the first 11 months of the year. On the other hand, and while one in three meals is financed by European aid, these have been revised upwards. Next year, the Restos du Coeur should receive some 19 million euros from the European Social Fund (ESF +). As a result, “we don’t have a stock problem for this year. But we are more worried for the long term ”, summarizes the person in charge.

Read also:

Our selection of articles on the coronavirus:

– The situation in France

ANIMATED INFOGRAPHIC – The evolution of the coronavirus in France

DOSSIER – The epidemic figures and the health situation in France

IN FIGURES – follow the day-to-day evolution of epidemic indicators by department

– In the world

How China went from scarcity to overproduction of masks

Why Italy is on the verge of a social explosion

– Economy and businesses

SURVEY – How SME bosses are experiencing the second wave of Covid

Tax revenues resist despite re-containment

Companies authorized to screen their employees

– The vaccine race

Where is the vaccine race in one infographic

PODCAST – Covid-19: a vaccine, soon?

– Science

Covid and Ibuprofen: the French exception

The asymptomatic would be more affected by the loss of antibodies

Reinfection cases intrigue researchers

– Patrimony

Real estate: everything that is allowed or prohibited during this new confinement

5 solutions to optimize your savings despite the crisis