French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand
France24 photoA plea for help by the head of a French charity, struggling to cope with an “explosion” in demand, has raised further concerns about the increase in poverty in France.
Olivier Berthe, president of Restos du Cœur (Restaurants with Heart), which hands out food parcels and hot dinners to those most in need, has implored donors and the government to come to its aid and help them cope with a massive rise in demand.
Just one month after launching its annual winter campaign, the charity has reported a 12 percent rise in the number of people coming through its doors, which, according to Berthe, represents an extra 100,000 compared to this time last year.
“It’s not a rise, it’s an explosion,” Berthe told French radio RTL this week. “These are figures that we are not used to seeing.”
Berthe has called on the public to help them deal with a crisis that he predicts is only going to deepen.
“We know that the situation we are in is going to deteriorate and we will have to take measures to manage it. If our donors do not react then we will not be able to cope,” Berthe said.
In the winter of 2011/2012 the charity distributed 115 million meals compared to just 8.5 million in 1985, the year it was launched by the French comic actor Coluche.
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