Seeing tens of thousands of desperate people fleeing their homes to get to a place of safety on your television screens is overwhelming. The humanitarian crisis confronting us all is so big and so complex it’s hard to know where to start. It’s true that there are no easy answers but there is clarity if you look into the eyes of the seven thousand men, women and children living in squalor just 20 miles away from Britain’s shores. They are living without access to proper sanitation, food or shelter and that is plain wrong and we are not going to stand by and do nothing. So –what are we going to do?
Over the last month, the kitchens on camp have come together under the umbrella Calais Kitchens with the aim of making sure everyone in camp can get at least one hot meal a day. We are also sending out bulk food deliveries to community groups in camp who are feeding themselves and their neighbours with our support.
Every day we meet more people who need our help. Most camp residents have been there for at least a few months now and have run out of what money they had when they arrived. The gas cooker they had has run out and any wood has been burned or soaked by the rain.
We are building 20 new community kitchens across the camp, fitting them with stoves and supplying them with wood and food so camp residents can feed themselves and the communities around them.
We are supporting over 50 existing community kitchens across the camp to improve their shelters, replace their stoves and provide them with firewood and food supplies.
The vulnerable get first priority alongside large community groups which can cook together to feed a large number of people.
We are mapping the camp and plotting each community kitchen with GPS coordinates. We are logging what each kitchen needs and how many people it is feeding. We know how many people we are reaching, where they are based and what they need to carry on.
We are working with community leaders every day to hand over the responsibility of managing the community kitchens and getting the food out to everyone to them. Refugees are volunteers just like us – they are putting their time and energy into helping each other, standing together when many would try and safeguard the scarce resources they had for themselves.
How is this going to happen?
MSF are going to supply the shelters to house the new community kitchens and help replace unsafe shelters currently being used as kitchens across the camp.
Finn and John of Windysmithy.co.uk will be fitting the new community kitchens with rocket stoves including flues and chimneys and hot plates.
Donated fire wood (or wood bought with donated money) will be distributed by a volunteer on a regular basis to all kitchens.
Why is this so important?
Food is nourishment for the body and the soul. We cannot survive without it but it’s also fundamental to our social groups and our relationships. When people have nothing, food and shelter is everything. We are working hard to give people the chance to feed themselves and each other –such a basic and fundamental thing for us all.
Community Kitchens are more than somewhere to get food, they are places of safety where communities can connect.
How you can help?
We need to raise money to build the community kitchens, fit them with stoves and equipment and supply them with food and firewood.
You can make a donation here – https://www.youcaring.com/refugees-in-the-calais-refugee-camp-492878
We are already getting the food you donate out into the camp every single day to thousands of people, with your support we can not only make sure more people are getting food, but that they are able to cook for themselves in large groups. PLEASE HELP US TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
We are also assembling around 80 kits to equip all of the new and existing kitchens. For each kitchen we need:
Emergency signal – horn
Big metal drums filled with water outside – fire points www.lumkani.com
First aid kit
Set of sharp knifes
Hard plastic: Plates, bowls, cups
Big metal or hard plastic bowls (no glass)
3 x saucepans 10 – 12 litres
Large frying pan non-stick
Small frying pan non-stick
Plastic storage containers for food and equipment with lids 50 litres
Plastic folding storage containers 32l
Water containers or rolling barrels. 50L
Washing up bowl
White board and pens
2 x Buckets
Broom wooden handle / tuff bristles
Dustpan and brush wood and metal
Washing up Liquid
If you want to help – please organise a collection in your area and get these items out to us as soon as you can. We need everyone who thinks this humanitarian crisis is unacceptable to take action – show the refugees and the government that you care and together we can make a change.
If you can donate any of the above items or you would like any more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org