Two Resto du Coeur candidates officially become members of the Federation!
At our last General Meeting in March, the Épicerie du Cœur in Mons and "Bezorgd om Mensen" in Tienen, Resto du Coeur candidates since 2019, officially became members of the Resto du Coeur of Belgium Federation.
Created in 2019, the non-profit association Épicerie du Cœur ASBL promotes solidarity with the most underprivileged residents of the 19 municipalities in the Mons area. Its primary mission? Food aid, which has been operating as a fully-fledged grocery shop since 2021.
The beneficiaries are accompanied to the grocery shop and leave with a parcel that includes 3 balanced meals per person. 300 families use the grocery shop and nearly 2,000 meals are distributed every week.
It also offers anyone who applies for food aid the option of follow-up by its in-house social services department, if they so wish. In this way, the non-profit association responds to all social emergencies, directing people to specific services and helping them to achieve social, economic and cultural emancipation.
Géraldine Godart is a social worker at the Épicerie du Cœur. She is proud to share with us the philosophy that drives all the members of the team:
“Our ambition is to provide support and guidance to people on the path to well-being, enabling them to regain their human dignity by considering them as a whole, while meeting their basic needs.”
This approach speaks volumes about the desire to provide structural help to the people who turn to the Épicerie du Cœur.
Since becoming a member of the Federation of Resto du Coeur, the Épicerie has benefited from the ever so constructive discussions that always take place between Resto du Coeur, and has been able to offload some of the common difficulties involved in running a non-profit association. This is a real advantage for the team, who can now turn their attention back to the essentials: helping people in precarious situations who turn to the association when they have no other alternative...
"Bezorgd om Mensen" [Caring for People] was founded in 1990 to help the most underprivileged in Tienen.
In 1997, it was officially recognised as a non-profit association, which has gone from moral and financial support provided by a few volunteers for two families to an organisation that today offers food support, clothing and household items (via the social shop) to more than 1,200 people, thanks to a team of some forty volunteers!
In concrete terms?
They provide a minimum of emergency aid to the most underprivileged (FEAD products donated by Europe and the Belgian government), but have decided to do more. For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, they distribute well-balanced food parcels to families: bread, fruit, vegetables, fish or meat and a dessert. The parcels are supplemented by staples such as pasta, rice, coffee, tea and tinned food.
They also regularly provide hygiene products, in cooperation with FEAD, Bruzelle and Resto du Coeur: sanitary towels, baby nappies, shampoo, shower gel, toilet paper, etc.
Against this background, the cooperation with the Resto du Coeur is a major asset: every week we supply them with fresh fruit and vegetables of very good quality, which the beneficiaries appreciate, and offer other quality products regularly that make life more pleasant for them: sweets, meat or cheese for sandwiches, etc.
"Bezorgd om Mensen" doesn't just distribute food parcels. It also helps to direct people to the appropriate aid organisation. A number of associates are on hand during opening hours to help people with their enquiries: Community Health Workers for hospital or doctor's appointments; CAW, centre for general Welfare, which offers support in conflictual relationships, help in a crisis, etc.; SAMOO, which defends the rights of people in precarious situations.
Mieke Pieters, on-site manager for the Resto du Coeur "Bezorgd om Mensen":
"Thanks to the cooperation with the Federation of Resto du Coeur, "Bezorgd om Mensen" also receives substantial financial support to optimise our operations: better refrigeration and freezing cells, a light lorry with refrigeration, a heating system in our reception area..."