Joanna shares her experience at Emmaus International Salon
I’ve been a volunteer at the Emmaus Gloucestershire shop in Nailsworth for more than three years now and was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend my first Salon in Paris with fellow volunteer Andy.
Emmaus International’s Salon is a huge fundraising event, which takes place in Paris with more than 200,000 visitors and 200 stalls managed by Emmaus groups from across Europe. Emmaus UK groups collect items throughout the year to sell at the event, and some formerly homeless companions and volunteers have the opportunity to attend. The proceeds from the one day events help to support Emmaus projects across the developing world, including South America, Asia and Africa.
Neither of us knew what to expect. We arrived on the Saturday to set up ready for Sunday opening. The venue was huge. After setting up our stall we were invited to a feast hosted by Emmaus France, which was a fantastic opportunity to meet colleagues from across Europe.
Salon Day – We arrived early on Sunday morning to complete the finishing touches to our stall. We had a selection of crockery including tea sets, bric-a-brac, and small items of furniture. You couldn’t help but notice the effort made to decorate stalls. There was an array of Emmaus lime green and orange across the venue – it was amazing to see! Finally the doors opened to queues of people, hundreds and hundreds ran into the venue all seeking bargains. Many were looking for traditional British items so our stall was hugely popular and busy throughout the day. The media were also in attendance as the event is well publicised across France. As a French speaker, I was interviewed for TV and radio. Not what I expected but enjoyable all the same.
The day was enormous fun, hard work, and a brilliant way to engage with our Emmaus International colleagues, while raising the profile of the movement and funds to support projects across the world. It was great to feel part of something that was much bigger than myself and I felt proud that our work in the UK could make a huge difference to the lives of others across the globe. It was such a unique experience and I would definitely attend again if I had the opportunity!”