By early afternoon, the Salvation Army’s “social grocery store” is filling up. The mostly female clientele arrives with fistfuls of bags and trolleys, unwrapping scarves that had cut a bracing wind.
Volunteers have freshly stocked the shelves with gleaming rows of canned vegetables and pasta. A small refrigerated section carries yoghurt, milk and meat, just shy of their sell-by dates.
For the hundred or so families who shop here — paying only a small “social contribution” for their purchases — the Salvation Army store is a buffer against hunger.
“I especially come here for the meat,” said Zina Tigrine a single mother of two, who arrived with a friend. “It’s a precious help when you’re really in need.”
Until now the store, located just across the Paris city limits, has relied on voluntary donations from two city supermarkets. But under a new law, those donations are now mandatory.