Restaurants Du Cœur - Origin

Origin

The comedian and actor Coluche launched the idea of the Restos du Cœur on 26 September 1985. "I have a little idea, a bit like this... If there are people who would be interested in sponsoring a free soup kitchen, we'd start first in Paris and then spread to France's big cities." The first of the Restos opened on 21 December and soon multiplied all over the country. The goal of the founders was to give away 2,000 to 3,000 meals per day; 8.5 million alone were distributed the first winter. The initiative was supported by a song written by the songwriter and singer Jean-Jacques Goldman called 'Les Restos du Cœur', which included some of the lyrics being sung or read out by other celebrities. A televised show allowed the organization to collect several million francs.

Coluche pleaded for the Restos' cause at the European Parliament in February 1986 after learning that surplus products cost more to store than to distribute for free to the poor; his plea was heard and the surplus was opened in 1987 to four organizations.

France has a huge housing problem and it is charitable organizations like this that stops hundreds of homeless people dying each winter.

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