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Restos du Coeur campaign launches

Last year the charity served 109 million meals to the disadvantaged; this year it is warning of threats to its work

SIXTY thousand people are expected to volunteer in the winter campaign of Les Restaurants du Coeur, which launches today.

Founded in 1985 by the comedian Coluche, the charity provided 109 million free meals for 860,000 disadvantaged people last year. The numbers of people using the service has been up by a quarter in the last three years.

This year the campaign, which ends on March 23, seeks to take advantage of the upcoming presidential elections to call on politicians “not to forget the poorest people”.

It comes as another major charity, Les Banques Alimentaires, held its annual food collection last weekend.

Among other issues, Les Restaurants du Coeur is calling for better housing strategies, “which genuinely favour everyone having a roof over their heads”.

It is also drawing attention to threats to its work which arose this year.

A proposed law cutting the tax break for charitable gifts, eventually withdrawn, would have automatically caused a drop in donations, it said.

Also causing concern was an EU plan to axe a food aid plan for the disadvantaged, a mainstay of charities like “Les Restos”, which has been put off to 2014. The charity is calling on politicians to support its continuation long-term.

It said in a statement that “the Cour des Comptes [public finance watchdog] has clarified that no set-up – and certainly not the state – could do what the charities do, at such a low cost.

“The equation: ‘do more with less’ places a great risk on the help which Les Restos provides,” the charity said.

While the main job of the organisation is providing meals, it can also offer changing rooms, the loan or gift of books, a free haircut etc as well as comfort and support.

Donations can be made at Donations site

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