The Enfoiros

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 to the needy.

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 in need who benefit from the Restos' help: they get to be the first to enjoy the yearly performance.

The club also organizes food collection campaigns among students, entertainment for the needy, and other activities to benefit 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 to help the needy, 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 always has a bittersweet taste: of course, it was fun to rehearse and perform the concerts, and to take part into other group activities; but we'd all rather it not be necessary at all.

But heh, as long as there are people in need, we figured we might as well have fun supporting them and connecting with them.