Food insecurity: associations are sounding the alarm for "poorest of the poor"

The associations all come to the same conclusion. As prices rise, the number of recipients of food aid swells and poverty deepens.

Since April, the number of beneficiaries of “Restaurants” – who launched their 38th national campaign on Tuesday -, thus jumped by 12% and their difficulties have increased, since 60% (instead of 50% a year earlier) live in the “extreme poverty“, that is to say with less than half the poverty line (551 euros per month).

In Food Banks, the observed increase in attendance is 9% in the first half, “that’s about as much in six months as before in two years of Covid“, observes with bitterness the director of the network Laurence Champier.

In total, 3.2 to 3.5 million people in France have recourse to food aid provided by associations – whether through the distribution of parcels, hot meals or solidarity grocery stores – details a study by Insee. published on Tuesday.

These beneficiaries are among “the poorest of the poor” and are often forced to deprive themselves to better feed their children: their average standard of living only reaches 637 euros per month, significantly less than the 877 euros received on average by all households living below the poverty line , specifies the Institute for Statistical Studies.

Nearly a third (32%) of beneficiaries “report often or sometimes going to bed hungry“and two-thirds of those with children say that the adults in their families must”often or sometimes” reduce their share for the benefit of children.

– “every gesture counts“-

We are in a situation where insecurity is increasing in our country, in particular food insecurity.“, added the Minister of Solidarity, who came on Tuesday to support the volunteers of the “Restaurants” in a distribution center in Asnières, near Paris.

Faced with inflation and the increase in rents or energy prices, the most precarious are brought to “arbitrations“in their budget,” he said.

We make the choice not to eat any more meat or fish, then we skip meals“, observed the Minister, before praising the measures of the tariff shield on energy and announcing an exceptional envelope of 10 million euros for food aid to students in difficulty. ‘he “not enough“, commented on France Inter the president of the Restos du Coeur Patrice Douret.

To meet the growing needs of the most precarious – who sometimes do not even have enough to pay for gas to pick up their food parcels – the associations themselves have to deal with rising costs, which raises fears of a “scissor effect“.

However, the Restos du Coeur do not plan to reduce the aid provided to their 1.1 million beneficiaries and therefore appeal more than ever to donations from the French who contribute to three quarters of the needs of the association.

Gold, “we have many modest donors“, underlines Mr. Douret who wonders”how long can they continue to give“in this difficult context.

A concern shared by Laurence Champier, of the Food Banks, who are launching their big “national collection“with the general public: by donating a packet of pasta or a jar of beans at the exit of their supermarket, individuals can contribute to 10% of the annual needs of the associative network, she explains.

Every gesture counts“, sums up Ms. Champier. “Generosity is a tool for social cohesion, we are going to need it in the face of this coming crisis. We must continue to be united, despite the budgetary difficulties that we all know“.

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