The Restos du Coeur are going increasingly mobile for the sake of their beneficiaries
Why go mobile?
Not all families living in precarious conditions are able to travel – or can no longer do so for financial reasons – in order to receive the food aid offered at the 20 Restos du Coeur in Belgium. Bearing this in mind, we needed to set up a new service where food aid could be delivered to these families. This is how the Mobile Restos du Coeur project came into being in 2017.
First in Wallonia, then in Brussels since March 2022, there are now 3 vans criss-crossing the roads, bringing food aid to isolated regions (where food aid is virtually non-existent), or to certain very underprivileged neighbourhoods where the demand for aid is greatest. The Mobile Restos du Coeur travel to Beaumont, Wellin, Tellin, Bouillon, Durbuy, Hamois, and Hastière and also serve three districts of Anderlecht, as well as the municipality of Koekelberg.
What is a food parcel?
Once a week, in partnership with the local Public Centres for Social Welfare, the Mobile Restos du Coeur distribute food parcels to beneficiaries, each containing at least two full meals for the whole family. Bread, dairy products, eggs, fruit, vegetables, snacks... But also hygiene products once a month, depending on reserves, assistance and financial means.
The actual value of a food parcel is around €40. A symbolic average contribution of €1 per adult and per child aged over 10 (€0.50 for children aged 3 to 9) is requested from the recipient per meal. This sum helps to cover a tiny fraction of the cost of transport or the purchase of goods, but above all it is an integral part of the inclusion process for the beneficiary.
The challenges of tomorrow…
In 2022, the Mobile Restos du Coeur distributed 60,592 meals to 844 households in difficulty. The first half of 2023 saw a 115% increase over last year. This suggests that 2023 is still going to be a difficult year, and that the presence of the Mobile Restos du Coeur on the ground is more than necessary today to respond to the precariousness that is not going down. Faced with rising energy prices, the effects of which are still being felt a year on, and food inflation that is unlikely to return to its level before the war in Ukraine, many families have found themselves in worrying situations and have welcomed this aid with relief.
Yet demand continues to grow. That is why a number of projects are being considered to provide new distribution points over the coming months so as to support other families living in other regions and neighbourhoods.
The teams and volunteers at the Restos du Coeur do a fantastic job every day. But none of this would be possible without the generous donations of our donors !