Travelling the world is an extraordinary gift and one that I am immensely grateful for. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s it seemed much easier to meet people as I mostly stayed in hostels and spent time going out to pubs and bars.

Oh, how life has changed…and now I’m in my late 40’s I need a new way of meeting like-minded people. One day I scanned Paris Meet Ups and Voilà! I found what I was looking for!

Serve the City Paris is part of a global movement of English-speaking volunteers. They are a passionate and generous group of people from all over the world who provide food for those in need. They also offer many other support services for asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless and underprivileged foreigners in Paris.

For food distribution, they partner with a well know café chain called Pret a Manger who supply the food. Sandwiches, salads and baguettes (and much more!) are provided to the volunteers three times a week to share with those in need. We meet at the famous La Caféothèque for a hot drink before starting our food delivery. The generous owner and staff are incredibly supportive of the Serve the City Paris volunteers and their kindness shines bright every visit.

A recent article in THE LOCAL mentioned there are over 3,641 homeless people living in Paris and the numbers are growing substantially. Since 2018 there’s been a 21% increase. These results are very concerning and I’m sure will add a lot of pressure to those providing support.

When you visit Paris and so many other cities around the world, you cannot miss the homeless. Seeing so many people displaced is heartbreaking. Spending time walking the streets and offering good food to those who are hungry really does make a meaningful difference. And it gave me a sense of purpose in a time when I felt a little lost. I really connected with my fellow volunteers who all generously give their time to do good. It also filled my heart with appreciation because the simple act of giving really does demonstrate that people genuinely care.

Here I am with Peter, Letitia, Nassera and Giuseppe (who loves feeding pigeons!). Find out more about Giuseppe here.

I am so grateful for my time here in Paris. It’s been a roller-coaster but mostly filled with wonderful moments. Spending time with Serve the City Paris volunteers has been the highlight for me. The passion of the volunteers and their determination to make a difference is admirable and inspiring. And I know that I will never be lonely in Paris again as I now have a family to return to. And I will, one day.

 

A bientôt Serve the City ParisWant to know more? Visit this MeetUp Group.