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Restos campaign gets under way

Centres are now open across France and the food bank charity is asking for new tax breaks for donors of food

THE WINTER campaign for the Restos du Coeur food banks has started again, with organisers expecting at least a million people to benefit.

“The rather detestable record” was reached for the first time last year and is likely to be reached again, says Restos president Olivier Berthe, who is calling on the government to give new tax breaks to firms that donate produce to it.

The so-called “Coluche law” (named after the comedian, who founded the Restos du Coeur) allows especially good tax breaks for money donations to causes that “help people in need”.

It was extended last year to donations of dairy products on the charity’s request which allowed the Restos to collect 850,000 litres of milk – though this was far from its total milk requirements of about 20 million litres a year.

This year the charity is asking the government to extend it to other foodstuffs – meat, eggs, vegetables etc. Mr Berthe believes that supermarkets tend to throw out unsold produce rather than donate it because it is costs them less.

While these “gifts in kind” help the charity meet its obligations, more than half of the food it gives is bought using donations and legacies. Around €84million was donated last year, but this sum is “stagnating”, the charity says, hence the need to find new ways to encourage gifts of food.

More than 2,000 centres are open, either daily or several times a week as of today, until March, to help out needy families with free food.

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