Readers’ tips: What are the best charities in France to donate to?

Readers' tips: What are the best charities in France to donate to?
Photo: Depositphotos
Each week The Local asks its readers to share their tips about various aspects of living in France. This week we asked their opinion on which charities in France they think are worth considering donating to. Here's what they had to say.

Even if you have the best of intentions when you move abroad, finding a charity to donate to probably isn't going to be at the top of your list. 

And even once you've settled in, finding the one with a cause that resonates with you enough to make you want to hand over some of your hard earned cash every month might not be as simple as it sounds. 

Also, you may have noticed that in France shopping areas aren't exactly filled with charity shops like they are in other countries so that means you can't do your bit by investing in some second hand goods either. 

With that in mind, we asked our readers for tips on which charities in France they think are worth considering donating to. 

Photo: AFP

Reader Francine Gloaguen Curtner recommended the Petites Soeurs des Pauvres (Little Sisters of the Poor) charity which sees nuns and volunteers help the elderly poor regardless of ethnicity or religion. 

“They do so much for lonely and poor people,” said Francine. “My friend who was a widow with a very small pension called them to see where she could find some help. They took her in till her last day. 

“They give dignity to the old and poor. The nuns and the volunteers are so wonderful.”

Another reader Trisna Nana Soemarno recommended Les Restos du Coeur, a French charity which distributes food packages and hot meals to the homeless, as well as those on very low incomes.

And not only do they do very necessary work but this charity also has a special status known reconnu d'utilité publique (recognised public service) which means your donation will be exempt from specific taxes, said Trisna.

If you make a donation before December 31st you will see 66 percent of that donation taken off your tax bill next year however it's important to remember that the donation can be no more than 20 percent of your taxable income, a system which is used by the French government as incentive for people to donate.

Here's the link to a government site where you can download a list of all the charities in France that have this special status

One of the charities on the list Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), an international humanitarian medical organisation of French origin best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases, was also recommended by a reader.

Photo: AFP

Meanwhile Louise Doddrell recommended donating items such as clothes, kitchen stuff, small pieces of furniture to Secours Populaire, a charity dedicated to fighting poverty, donating large items of furniture to Emmaus, which also works to combat poverty.

Reader Ujwala Samant recommended donating to your local food bank (banque alimentaire) or church food collection.

“Most folks aren't aware that this is a year-round need and that when the school year ends, those in need have even less food to feed their children,” said Ujwala. 

“It's a hard sell to get the partnership with supermarkets and donors to consistently give. I can't imagine a child coming to class on an empty stomach. Hence, I think it would be a wonderful idea to donate to your local food pantry (if your church has one) or banque alimentaire. Preferably, year round.”

Another reader recommended a charity set up by Italian actor who acted mainly in French films Lino Ventura called Perce-Neige, which helps people who are suffering from mental illness, as well as physical and mental disabilities. 

Meanwhile, if you're someone who would like to donate to an animal charity, one reader recommended SPA (Society for the Protection of Animals) for abandoned dogs, cats and other pets.

“This summer was a very bad year for abandons. Chien Visiteur is very good, volunteers take their pets to visit retirement or handicapped homes, but I am not sure if it's a charity.”


Why are there (almost) no charity shops in France?

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