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g guillaume paumier

The Enfoiros

Photograoh of five people on a stage (three women and two men), singing into microphones. They are dressed with red shirts and black pants. The second person from the left is Guillaume Paumier.

Singing at one of the concerts in Ramonville, France, in 2003 // All rights reserved.

For two years, I was a member of a student club supporting a charity that provides food to the needy, notably by raising funds through a series of concerts.

The Enfoiros is a student club from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse, the “Grande École” (a.k.a. engineering college) I attended.

Founded in 2000, the club’s purpose revolves around activities aimed at supporting the Restaurants du Cœur (“les Restos“), a French charity providing food and support for unhoused people and other people in need.

The club was inspired by the Enfoirés, a group of mainstream artists and celebrities who perform in a yearly series of concerts. All proceeds from the concert (and associated products, such as CDs and DVDs) benefit the Restos. The student club built on this idea, and each year the group of students, faculty and college staff performs in a similar series of concerts.

The opening night of the series of concerts is reserved for the people who benefit from the Restos: the beneficiaries get to be the first to enjoy the yearly performance.

The club also organizes food collection campaigns among students, entertainment for low-income folks, and other activities to support the Restos, like volunteering at gift-wrapping booths during the holiday season.

I joined the club in 2003 and participated in its activities until I graduated in 2005. I have the fondest memories from these two years, taking action against poverty, being on stage and performing and, most of all, being part of a community of friends and like-minded people who were, for a time, a real family.

Volunteering and performing for the Enfoiros was always bittersweet: although it was fun to rehearse and perform the concerts, and to take part into other group activities, we would all have preferred that it not be necessary at all. But since there was a need, we figured we might as well find opportunities for joy and connection.