An old McDonald’s has been converted into a food bank that provides food to thousands of needy families in Marseille, France.
Fati Bouarua, of Algerian descent, he grew up in the most neglected neighborhoods of Marseille, France. Now, he has helped transform a former McDonald’s restaurant in Sainte-Marthe into a food bank that offers food to 2,000 families a week.
“When the first confinement came, people were more concerned about starving than covid-19 around here,” Fati told Vice. “They closed everything, even charities and social assistance. People were left to be abandoned. With or without documents — they had nothing”.
In Marseilles, many immigrants and refugees are forced to live in precarious conditions and in the commune of Sainte-Marthe, when McDonald’s closed, only the local supermarket was offering people jobs.
McDonald’s opened there in 1992 and not only provided 77 people with jobs, it gave locals the dignity of having a place to eat out. In 2018, the restaurant closed due to lack of government funding.
Dissatisfied, the then restaurant manager, Kamel Guemari, doused in gasoline and threatened to emulate himself unless the McDonald’s closure was stopped and all 77 employees were guaranteed livelihoods. It did little good and the restaurant remained closed.
Thanks to a strong campaign on social media, Guemari started to raise funds, remodeled the restaurant and gave it a new name: L’Apres M.
In a huge wave of support, farmers donated fruits and vegetables; stores offered food and locals donated funds to support this growing movement. In the first five weeks after opening, more than 100,000 people received a meal.
Now they created a company called Le Part Du Peuple, in which everyone who donates remains a part of the company, nobody owns. It is a company run as a non-profit organization.
“What we want to do is create a fast social food, a restaurant where you are given the menu and the prices are determined based on what you earn. If you are an undocumented migrant, you can come and eat twice a week for free. Those who earn the minimum wage pay only €3 per person, and so on,” explained Fati.
“We are going to re-employ 37 employees, and the rest will be 40 volunteers who offer half a day a month of their time to keep everything running. It is a model not only to help the poorest survive, but to fight against the victimization caused by capitalism”, he added.