THE CONTEXT OF YOUR INITIATIVE
On 17 October 2011 the authorities in Marseille signed a municipal decree prohibiting begging in the city centre.
Following several unsuccessful demonstrations outside the town hall we took the decision to organise, in the run up to Christmas, a large solidary banquet with homeless people as the VIPs at this event.
THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT AS PART OF YOUR INITIATIVE
Our efforts lobbying the public authorities to repeal this unjust decree were unsuccessful and thus we decided not to sit idle but to take action.
On 22 January 2012 we launched the breakfast van initiative.
Our idea was that no-one should have to start their day on an empty stomach and we thus decided we offer a hot drink (tea, coffee, hot chocolate), a freshly baked pastry and a banana (fresh fruit due to the dental problems the poorest often experience) to homeless people. We noted later on that people with low income (such as pensioners) and children on their way to school also come to get their breakfast from us.
WHO IS INVOLVED FROM OUR GROUP?
We serve the breakfast from Tuesday to Friday from 7.30am to 9am.
César, one of our companions, arrives at the community at 5am and starts baking 112 croissants and heating 20 litres of coffee, 10 litres of water and 10 litres of milk. Another companion, Thierry, joins him at 6.30am to fill up the containers and pack up the 27 kg of bananas.
The van leaves at 6.45am in order to arrive on La Canebière at 7.15am to set up the bins, tables and other bits and pieces.
Sometimes volunteers also help out with this initiative – such as some young people who stopped by once on their way to class and who came back another day to lend a hand.
WHICH PARTNERS ARE YOU WORKING WITH ON THIS INITIATIVE?
Word of mouth is the most efficient way of passing information on to homeless people and we now serve food to over 100 people per day on average, proving that our initiative has been successful.
Our apple green coloured breakfast van is a key part of all of our initiatives and lobbying work.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANY INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR INITIATIVE?
WHAT ARE YOUR PROSPECTS?
There have been many reports done on the breakfast van and the solidarity banquet in December is something we now do every year. The banquet brings together, thanks to social networking efforts, many volunteers who come to help us serve up a true Christmas supper in the true Christmas spirit.