A welcoming place for parents


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Web http://www.restosducoeur.org/content/restos-b%C3%A9b%C3%A9s-du-c%C5%93ur


About the project Edit

The mission of Bébés du Cœur restaurants is to help people.


• food aid adapted to meet the specific needs of children 18 months and younger
• material assistance: clothing, diapers, personal hygiene and healthcare products, games for children and borrowing material
• listening, pediatric and nutritional advice, a space to share and exchange with other parents and often experienced volunteers, such as: childcare workers, midwives, nurses, pediatricians and social workers
• a space for prevention and orientation towards existing internal and external structures

Bébés du Cœur restaurants responds to the specific problems of parents and future parents. They provide adapted food, clothes, diapers, hygiene products, lend materials and games for young children and also make recommendations in pediatrics, nutrition and childcare.

The goal is to create a relationship of trust with parents with personalized support and create activities that respond to their needs whenever possible.

In all, there are 62 Restos Bébés in France that help 30,000 babies each year.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

What is the social value of this project? Edit

It was the original idea of Coluche, a French comedian and actor. He wanted to give every person a boost to get them through the winter. Therefore, in terms of food aid, priority is given the most needy and during the most critical time of year – from the beginning of December to the end of March.

But many distribution centres remain open all year long to ensure continuous food aid and mostly to support families in their process of reintegration; in other words, the period between harvests.

Everywhere in France, the Restaurants fight hard to keep their locations in the city centres and refuse to distance themselves further from the places where the most needy individuals live.

Aux Restos, plusieurs types d’aide alimentaire coexistent:

At Restos, several kinds of food aid co-exist:

• distributing balance food baskets, cooking at home
• hot meals for people who don’t have a roof over their heads
• specific help for babies


Every person who goes to Restos has the right to a certain amount of food that will allow them to prepare a complete and balanced meal every day for all members of their household.

A meal consists of:

• a meat or fish
• a vegetable, pasta or rice
• cheese or yoghurt
• fruit
• bread

Personal hygiene products (soap, toothpaste) and basic food products are also included: milk, butter, oil, sugar, cereal, flour, etc. Often local procurement by volunteers based on the D system brings a supplement of fresh fruits and vegetables and more, depending on the opportunities that arise.

People who are welcomed, therefore, go back to the distribution centres with foodstuffs from various food groups (protein, starch, vegetables, dairy, etc.) that they chose themselves.


Restos du Cœurs pay particular attention to a balanced diet.

Distribution centres have always offered free choice of foodstuff that people can leave with.

To promote a better nutritional diet for those in need, the Restos have increased the potential proportions of fruits and vegetables to 50% of the food distributed. Furthermore, volunteers work hard to create awareness among individuals to incite them choose fresh products (theme posters, training in balanced diet, etc.).


The trust that donors have in us requires that we maximize their donations. Therefore, the Restos provide assistance to the people who need it the most.

To receive assistance in the form of food baskets, people must register every year and explain why they lack resources. Signing up is a difficult and important moment that requires listening attentively and sensitively. The Restos see this as the beginning of reintegration. We welcome information that will help us identify other shortcomings including: lodging, illness, illiteracy.

On the other hand, justification of resources is not required to benefit from a hot meal at the centre or from a Cœur truck.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Founded in 1985 by Coluche, a French comedian and actor, Les Restos du Coeur’s objective is to “help and bring volunteer assistance especially in the area of food to needy people by providing access to free meals and participating in social and economic reintegration, as well as all any activity in the fight against poverty in all of its forms.”

On September 26, 1985, Coluche rebelled against the food waste of a consumption society and denounced the destruction of agricultural surplus in France and in Europe:

“When there are food surpluses and we destroy them to maintain market prices, we could recover them and try to make a big cafeteria to feed everyone who’s hungry.”

The idea was launched – the first restaurant of love opened its doors in France on December 21, 1985.

What is the business model of this project? Edit


All food stuff comes from two sources:

• Donations in kind from the European Union: Following Coluche’s intervention before the European Parliament in February 1986, the European Council had opened European Union surplus fridges in 1987: the European Union Food Aid Program (PEAD) was established.
• Bulk purchases from suppliers: Food is supplied and deliverd to departments by the National Procurement Service. There, they are labelled and transported to the various distribution centres of each departmental association.

More than 2,000 Resto centres ensure distribution for all of France. Individuals helped go once or several times a week. There are also places for welcoming, meeting and exchange where people can go to have a coffee, spend a moment in warmth, make connections and also go further in their reintegration process.

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