With cruising and world-wide travel on hold suddenly in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the Port of Marseille became a shelter port for up to 23 cruise ships. They arrived full of food and beverages which were mostly perishable.
Despite lockdown difficulties, Marseille Provence Cruise Club decided to act quickly. They spoke with cruise companies, agents, local authorities and charities to find local people in need who would benefit from food donations from the ships. The Club then liaised with the necessary authorities and co-ordinated the distribution of ten bulk food deliveries in the local area. Their speedy action meant that over 22 tonnes of food was distributed to local people. This equated to 48,000 meals, feeding 2,200 people.
Jean-Francois Suhas, The Marseille Provence Cruise Club President is proud of the hard work his team put in to getting this project off the ground so quickly:
“Cruise companies are at the very heart of the economic success of Marseille through the cruise terminal and Marseille Shipyard. The fact that the industry was able to come together for the good of the local community at such a difficult time, demonstrates their commitment to our local area. I am proud and deeply touched by the sheer logistical achievements, as well as the positive relationships that were formed to enable this challenge to be successfully delivered.
Jean-Francois Suhas, Marseille Provence Cruise Club President
Four cruise lines donated their food and beverages and helped with the initiative: MSC Foundation, Costa Cruises, AIDA and Ponant. On the ground in Marseille, as well as the Marseille Provence Cruise Club staff and cruise lines, the Port of Marseille Fos, Customs, firefighters and charities all worked together to co-ordinate the food deliveries. Local charities such as Banque Alimentaire (Food Bank), Red Cross, Vendredi 13, Armée du Salut (Salvation Army), Marseille Marine Firefighter Battalion and Régie Service 13 all benefitted from the initiative.