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Restos du Coeur marks 'sad milestone' of 1.37 million meals served in 2022

20:26 07/03/2023

The Belgian branch of food aid organisation Les Restos du Coeur has announced a "sad milestone" of a record number of meals served to needy families last year.

More than 1.3 million meals were distributed in 2022. In the fourth quarter of the year, this represented an increase of 32% on the previous one.

“With the increase in the price of basic necessities and very high energy bills, the purchasing power of many households has decreased significantly,” explained the organisation’s president Jean-Gérard Closset.

“This is a double punishment for people who are already in a precarious situation and a very difficult situation to accept for those who are newly impacted.”

Compared to 2019, before the pandemic, the number of meals distributed has more than doubled, according to the organisation.

And while the first half of 2022 saw a slight drop in the number of meals distributed, the hope of a positive trend was “quickly swept away” by figures for the remainder of the year.

The Belgian Restos du Coeur launched an appeal for donations to replenish its stock in light of the record-high demand for food aid. Its annual food fundraising and food donations drive will take place on 10 and 11 March in the field and from 6 March to 2 April online.

The operation is organised in 24 collection sites this year, compared to 13 in 2022.

There were more than 13 tonnes of food collected last year, but many food aid organisations have been sounding the alarm that even more will be needed this year in order to meet the high demand.

Written by Helen Lyons