At the Restos du Coeur de Draguignan, premises too cramped in the face of a sharp increase in demand

Opposite the entrance to the premises of the Dracénoise branch of the Restos du Coeur (1), the queue is impressive and never empty. It is 10 a.m. that morning, and around thirty beneficiaries are patiently waiting, waiting their turn. All profiles, young or old, they wait, baskets and empty shopping bags in hand, to be able to collect the meals (2) that will be provided to them for a week.

Launched on November 22, the association’s winter campaign is in full swing. And in Draguignan, the crowd is substantial.

A 65% increase in requests

“Currently, 258 families are registered, compared to 156 last year, at the same time. An increase of 65%!”, immediately launches the head of the Dracénoise branch, Marie-Claude Clowez. And it’s not over… “We expect to reach 600 families registered this winter…”

A significant increase in registrations, partly linked to the consideration of energy expenditure in the acceptance criteria. And in front of such an influx, the structure, however very well organized, may well reach its limits. “We don’t know how we’re going to cope…” confided the manager.

“We lack space”

Because faced with this ever-increasing influx, a major problem arises: the premises of the structure. Provided by the City, they are too small. And less and less adapted to the needs of the association. At the head of about fifty volunteers, Marie-Claude Clowez supports: “It’s not the arms that we lack, but the space…”

Proof of this is with the fixed gauge. Every quarter of an hour, only seven people can enter the premises at the same time, each accompanied by a volunteer. Given the number of requests, it is too few. But faced with the dedicated space, it’s a lot…

Behind the room intended for food distribution, a room dedicated to administrative procedures. Here too, it is promiscuity that prevails, with narrow offices next to refrigerators or other microwaves, with no privacy zone for new applicants who present clearly delicate situations. Lack of space, again.

How do I find suitable premises? “We are trying to find a solution. But we need a place in the city center, easy to access, and big enough… it’s not easy…”

1. Restos du Coeur – 413, Boulevard Bernard Trans. Phone: 04 94 85 05 90.

2. But also clothes or books.