This Tuesday evening, around fifty people are waiting in front of the Bar Commun, an associative place in the popular district of Goutte d’Or, in Paris. Like every week, the Linkee association carries out a free distribution of products, mainly food, intended for students.
Dressed in yellow or blue T-shirts, the volunteers, often students themselves, are busy directing young people to the products collected. Midou, 20, leaves with an entire trolley. Arrived from Morocco two years ago, this computer science student in a private school lives on 500 euros a month. Once he’s paid his rent, he doesn’t have much money for food. “My whole family has contributed to fund my school, I can’t ask them to help me”says the youngest of a family of six children.
Created in 2016, the Linkee association provides, on presentation of a valid student card, fruits, vegetables, starches, cheeses… often organic, labeled or from fair trade. “We recover surplus, unsold and damaged products – but still good – from farmers, wholesalers or traders”, explains Julien Meimon, founder of Linkee. In its thirty sites in France, the association also offers psychological support, via the Psys du Coeur association, and also gives tickets to the cinema, theater or opera.
Between 250 and 300 parcels per week
Inside the Common Bar, Kad, 23, oversees distribution. A volunteer since November 2020 and sometimes a beneficiary of the system, this master’s student in computer science at the Sorbonne has observed a constant increase in the number of young people who come to collect food. “When I started here, we were delivering about 150 packages every week. Today, we donate between 250 and 300.he says. “Two years after the health crisis, we see that we always have more precarious students in our distributions, and this situation makes us indignant. A country that is not interested in its youth corrupts all its possibilities of evolution.protests the founder of Linkee, Julien Meimon.
If the students who go to the food distributions are always numerous, they are also in even more complicated situations. Last year, the survey conducted by Linkee among the recipients of its parcels showed that one in two young people had, once the rent and the bills had been paid, a “living allowance” of less than 50 euros for food, take care of themselves, dress themselves or have fun. In its new 2022 survey, carried out among some 3,800 beneficiaries of the system, the share of those with less than 50 euros of “rest to live” now stands at 65%.
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