Le Havre. Beyond food distribution, the Restos du Cœur want to create links

Here, no ready-made basket: each family walks through the stands with a volunteer to pick the products to which they are entitled, depending on the number of people in it. (©MC Nouvellon)

Going from fridges preserving fresh produce to displaying daily vegetables or shelves filled with baby products, families are stocking up almost normally. Almost, since instead of the supermarket, it’s in a shopping center Restos of the Heartinstalled in the Bléville district of Le Havre (Seine-Maritime)that they fill their basket.

“Here, people don’t just come to pick up a package, they shop between the shelves like everyone else,” says Christine Emo, volunteer resources referent. In front of the various crates of vegetables, a young mother makes her choice between a few potatoes, onions and broccoli. On the other side of the table, Stéphane, a volunteer with the association, weighs the bags before handing them to her, then joining her.

Beyond distributions, create links

This is the other particularity of the distributions organized here every day: they are “accompanied”. “This makes it possible to clearly see the needs, to adapt the products if necessary for a family that follows a vegetarian, halal diet… or even to explain how to cook certain things that they are not used to seeing”, describes Lydie Poret, head of the personal assistance service.

Moreover, in these premises invested only a few months ago by the association, a kitchen area is being fitted out. It should soon host workshops to help beneficiaries familiarize themselves with the products and introduce them to new recipes. A little further, a counter will offer the possibility of staying for a coffee.

For families with young children, a baby corner also offers nappies, powdered milk and small jars.
For families with young children, a baby corner also offers nappies, powdered milk and small jars. (©MC Nouvellon)

“We see people every week, the accompaniment makes it possible to identify certain things: a loss of allowance, a battered wife… continues Lydie. When we register them, we always take the time to talk: we ask if the children go to school, if they really have accommodation…”

Missions according to the sensitivity of each

Here, the restaurants welcome around 500 families in summer, and more than 700 in winter. And to ensure the distributions, it’s a whole logistics that engages. Behind the scenes this Tuesday morning, three volunteers plunge their hands into boxes of products from the “collection” of unsold supermarket items. Fruits and vegetables are mixed in, sometimes damaged, overripe… and even unknown, like these intriguing seeds, ultimately identified as fresh pepper.

At each arrival of the
Each time the “pickup” arrives, an important job of sorting the products donated by the supermarkets is carried out. (©MC Nouvellon)

Upon arrival of the donations, which must be unloaded from the trucks, a skilful job of sorting and distribution according to the state, the expiry dates and the need to respect a certain food balance in the foodstuffs allocated to the beneficiaries get organized. But the role of volunteers is also played upstream.

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A few corridors from the reserves, in the rest room, a small team is working on the organization of various actions and collections, but also the search for new donors and partners. “We have more logistical and commercial profiles, explains Philippe Zanoni, volunteer in charge of prospecting. We bring our stone to the building, according to the needs but also the sensitivities of each one. »

Beyond the collection, sorting and distribution of foodstuffs, other missions, such as prospecting, occupy the volunteers.
Beyond the collection, sorting and distribution of foodstuffs, other missions, such as prospecting, occupy the volunteers. (©MC Nouvellon)

“Beyond precariousness, regain self-esteem”

“Capturing everyone’s potential to entrust them with specific missions” is Christine Emo’s mission. “If we can’t put a tin can in their hands, we put a computer there,” smiles the volunteer resources referent. Because the actions of the association are diverse.

In addition to food distributions, “we would like to create animations, activities so that families can exchange. Beyond precariousness, our objective is also to regain self-esteem,” she recalls. Pushing the door of a training room, Lydie Porret is planning a knitting workshop there that could see the light of day soon. A support project in French is also under consideration, “according to the needs that will come back to us from the families”.

Soon, a doctor will be on duty in this same room to offer health and hygiene education. The association is also considering bringing in a social worker to better support the beneficiaries.

One of the objectives of the open days, organized on Saturday June 25 by the association, is also to highlight this diversity of actions. “The idea is to present what we do on a daily basis, certainly food but not only,” insists Nadine Cressant, president of Restos Seine-Maritime Littoral.

Doors open Saturday, June 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the various centers.
In Le Havre at the headquarters of Restos du cœur Seine-Maritime littoral (61 rue Hannes Montlairy) and at the Goubin (21 rue du sergent Goubin) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (98 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau) centres, but also in Bolbec (670 avenue Maréchal Joffre 76210), Doudeville (4 streets from the school), Cany-Barville (lake road), Gonfreville (Arthur Fleury room, rue Maurice Thorez), Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine (157 bis rue du President Coty) and Valmont (18 rue de Thiergeville).

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