Dor several months, the strongest wave of inflation in recent decades has hit France and Europe. It particularly concerns food products: in one year, their price has jumped by around 15%, with even more dizzying increases on certain products, such as meat or certain fruits and vegetables. People in precarious situations are the first victims. The arbitration between food, housing, travel or even heating is no longer possible and is leading hundreds of thousands of people to turn for the first time to solidarity associations.
This winter, the Restos du Coeur, which distribute each year around 35% of the volumes of products intended for food aid in France, welcomed 22% more people compared to winter 2021-2022. All the territories and all the profiles of people received are experiencing significant increases. This is the most massive and fastest increase that our association has had to face since its creation, almost forty years ago! And the trend accelerated further during the month of March. Behind these figures, there are faces, those of children, many, of single-parent families, of precarious workers who can no longer get by. Our teams are mobilizing to help them and holding on, in particular by recruiting new volunteers and opening up more distribution slots.
Devastating scissor effect
At the same time, this inflation weighs heavily on the budget of the solidarity associations themselves: the increase in the cost of energy or of the food products purchased directly affects their financial balance. This winter, the Restos du Coeur went from an average of 2.5 million euros in food orders per week to nearly 5 million euros to respond to the increase in attendance and prices, and to compensate for the decrease donations on certain products.
We are therefore faced with a devastating scissors effect which endangers the viability of associations, at the risk of having to significantly reduce the aid and support they provide. Even if inflation slows in the coming months, which we all hope, it will not immediately translate into an improvement in the living conditions of the most precarious and a reduction in the use of food aid.
The situation that Restos are experiencing today is the one encountered more or less strongly by thousands of solidarity associations throughout Europe.
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