“Sometimes we have to deprive ourselves”: food insecurity on the menu of many French people

Spread the love

“ Sometimes we have to deprive ourselves”: food insecurity on the menu of many French people

In France, food aid organizations fear the impact of inflation on demand and their ability to meet it.

Linkee workers distribute food products to French students.

Around 6 p.m. on a Tuesday evening, a line of about 300 people formed in front of a university residence in northern Paris.

These students are not waiting to attend a class or seminar, but rather to get food aid. Three evenings a week, the Linkee association organizes a distribution of food collected from restaurants or supermarkets.

The organization's finding is unequivocal: the needs are increasing considerably. On the site we visited, in the north of the capital, the number of people served increased from 150 to 300 in just a few months.

Students line up to get cheap food in France.

“Week after week, we see that the need does not stop, that the beneficiaries are more and more numerous.

—Younes, a volunteer with Linkee

Sometimes you have to deprive yourself, explains Mayas, a management student who explains that he occasionally has to skip lunch.

Clearly, I have to choose things. There are things I don't buy at all because I can't afford them, he adds.

In France, while the population is preparing to spend a winter under the sign of energy sobriety, some are already experiencing another crisis: that of food. Now it is the food banks themselves that are sounding the alarm. Report by our correspondent Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair

In addition to the exorbitant price of rents in the Paris region, students must deal with inflation that exceeds 6% and rising heating costs and energy.

I received a message telling me that the electricity has increased again. So, suddenly, it may play on the bill. It's not necessarily the news that gives the most pleasure, says Maxime, leaving food distribution with a grocery bag full of fruits and vegetables in his hand.

C' Moreover, it is the possibility of having access to this type of fresh produce that pushes Esther, an Italian student, to come to the distribution session. It's nice not to spend 20 euros on shopping and only buy vegetables, she says.

Despite some existing programs in France, such as the one-euro menu offered to scholarship holders, the food needs of the student population remain very great.

Faced with the urgency represented by this increase in student precariousness, the French Minister of Solidarity, Jean-Christophe Combe, announced this week an envelope of 10 million euros to help Linkee.

“The conclusion is clear. Today, as we can see, we are in a situation where precariousness, unfortunately, is increasing in our country, and in particular food insecurity. »

—Jean-Christophe Combe, French Minister of Solidarity

The needs go far beyond the student community. The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies estimates that up to 3.5 million French people used food aid in 2021.

The Restos du Coeur center, in the town of Plaisir, offers around 3,500 meals a week.

Besides, given the context economic, other agencies anticipate an increase in demand in the coming months.

Leaders of Restos du Coeur, an association founded by humorist Coluche in 1985, made extensive reference to it during the launch of their winter campaign this week.

At the center of distribution of Plaisir, on the outskirts of Paris, it is feared that inflation will reflect not only on demand, but also on the body's food supply.

While Restos du Coeur depends on grants and donations, they must also purchase certain products that have increased in value over the past year.

“It affects us in that the cost of our supplies is higher than it was. We are really constrained by the economic context like everyone else and unfortunately. »

— Charlotte Douville, head of Restos du Coeur centers in the Yvelines department

Charlotte Douville is involved in several Restos du Coeur centers in the Yvelines department.

In the context of interviews in the French media, Patrice Douret, the president of Restos du Coeur, also spoke of the important issue of fuel costs for volunteers who need their car to go to distribution centers. .

While the threat is less at the center of Plaisir, an area not far from Paris where some volunteers travel on foot or by public transport, the problem of manpower #x27;work remains intact.

According to Charlotte Douville, the impacts of the pandemic have added to the recruitment challenges of organizations like hers.

Even there, you can see it today, a volunteer is missing and that gets everything stuck, says Jean-Michel, who has been involved in Restos du Coeur for 17 years, exposing the issues of fluidity in the distribution of the day.

Maxence, a student, uses the services of the Linkee organization.

If the economic context complicates the task of aid organizations such as Restos du Coeur or Linkee, it also makes their mission all the more important.

Fortunately there are associations that help us, launches the student Mayas, beneficiary of the Linkee organization, by filling the refrigerator of his small apartment in the suburbs of Paris.

Previous Article
Next Article