In financial difficulty, the Restos du Coeur have resigned themselves to reducing the number of beneficiaries of their food aid this winter, the association’s president said on Sunday. “Today, we are not strong enough to absorb the flow of people who need food aid,” explains Patrice Douret, president of the association created in 1985 by Coluche. “If nothing is done, we could be forced to close within three years”.
The Restos du Coeur find themselves in the red due to the “very significant increase” in the number of people asking for help and an “increase in its operating costs”, due to inflation.
Already 1.3 million people welcomed in 2023
Guest of the TF1 TV newspaper on Sunday, Patrice Douret launched “an appeal to the political and economic forces of our country” for the “launch of an emergency food plan”. “We are not heard enough or taken seriously (…) but the dikes are giving way,” said the association manager on TF1.
The association has already welcomed 1.3 million people in 2023, compared to 1.1 million for the whole of last year. And in recent months, its budget for food purchases, then redistributed free of charge to beneficiaries, has “doubled”.
35 million euros to break even
Faced with this “extremely complex” situation, the Restos du Coeur have decided to reduce their number of beneficiaries. “It’s really heartbreaking, but we are going to have to say no massively to people that we could have welcomed before inflation and we are going to have to reduce the amount of what we give to people who match our criteria”, detailed Patrice . Douret. He estimates that around 150,000 people will have to be turned back.
The association, which plans to serve 170 million meals this year compared to 140 million in 2022, provides regular aid to people in need, depending on how much they have left to live. Its amount to be eligible will be lowered, said Patrice Douret, without giving precise figures.
Despite this measure, the association needs an additional 35 million euros to end the financial year in balance.
“We call for a massive mobilization of the political and economic forces of this country to help us take this step,” said Patrice Douret, who also expressed his anger. “We have been alerting the government to this situation for months, we have not been heard enough. »
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