Celebrate this Holiday Season with Les Réveillons de la solidarité


The holiday season is for making memories, passing on long-held traditions to the next generation, and gathering around the table with loved ones – at least for some

Loneliness can take a physical and emotional toll on anyone, but elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable with 1 in 3 experiencing isolation (as compared to 1 in 10 in the general population). Mental health is just as critical as physical health.

That’s why Les Réveillons de la solidarité, a program of Fondation de France, was created 15 years ago – to make festive experiences available to the vulnerable during year-end holidays (“Réveillon” in French means “eve”, and refers to Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve celebrations). These momentous activities help to forge ongoing connections within communities.

Overcoming Isolation in France during the Holidays

In 2020, more than 7 million people in France were isolated (growing from 4 million just a decade prior). The post COVID-19 reality certainly contributed to the stark increase in loneliness around the world. Yet, other driving factors like employment, age, disability, family circumstances, and illness make isolation more common than ever.

To help combat isolation and loneliness, every year, Fondation de France makes a call for projects exclusively to nonprofits, paying special attention to smaller organizations who do not have access to private funding. Les Réveillons de la solidarité benefits more than 25,000 vulnerable individuals annually, making it easier for them to cope during the holidays.

Between December 1, 2021, and January 9, 2022, Fondation de France is supporting about 100 celebrations that bring a diverse group of people from different generations, cultures, and backgrounds together. 

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Innovative Festivities

Organizations continue to succeed in adapting events to adhere to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, while still achieving their goals to forge meaningful connections between those experiencing loneliness.

For example, Yves Pontonnier, who was homeless for 5 years prior, organizes daily patrols of the streets year-round, working closely with those who are struggling with homelessness.

Last year, Pontonnier’s organization, De la Rue à la Scène, organized a musical patrol near Paris, reaching individuals in a joyous, innovative way. The nonprofit not only prepared a meal and distributed backpacks with hygiene items and clothing, but they lifted the spirits of those spending the holidays without a roof over their heads. 

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Made For and By People Experiencing Isolation

All programs supported by Fondation de France must keep the beneficiary at the heart. 

Similar to Fondation de France’s inclusive programming governance, involving both experts and beneficiaries in all levels of decision making, a significant effort is made to involve isolated and lonely individuals in event preparation. This not only ensures festivities help address community needs but restores dignity back to the individual. 

While Les Réveillons de la solidarité events are seasonal, Fondation de France prioritizes projects that promote long-term solutions to challenges that isolated individuals face.

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Building a Better World

Les Réveillons de la solidarité is just one project of thousands that Fondation de France supports to build a better world. 

Friends of Fondation de France makes it possible for Americans who want to get involved with meaningful projects spanning all sectors. Discover more about our innovative, impactful programs on our website.

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