CamCRAG Chair Elliot Harris reports back from another productive weekend volunteering in Calais
Thank you to Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK), Help Refugees, L’Auberge des Migrants and all of the other wonderful groups who slog away every day and who treat us like family when we pop down to the warehouse for a weekend. Your unrelenting patience, compassion and sense of humour is astounding.
RCK, don’t tell anyone, but you’re my favourite! You extraordinary people produce and distribute around 2,500 meals everyday without fail and with smiles and love. I’m so glad that CamCRAG can support you a little with £1,000 a month (1,000 meals, or 40% of one day!) and with volunteers now and then.
Well done and a big thank you to the 30 or so CamCRAG volunteers who set out on Friday evening, worked your hearts out on Saturday, had a lovely group meal on Saturday evening, worked your hearts out again on Sunday and then headed back on Sunday evening.
So many long-termers told me how impressed they were with the way you got stuck in and how they can rely on our convoys to arrive every 6 weeks like clockwork with keen volunteers and aid. Whether washing pots, chopping veg, going on food distribution, sorting pants or socks or blankets or putting up and checking various tent of questionable quality in ‘Tentworld’ or any of the other ways you helped in freezing cold temperatures; thank you, you’ve made us very proud.
This convoy saw the delivery of 600 more of our homemade ponchos, thanks to the hard work of many Cambridge residents. They’re going down very well with refugees and volunteers and their delivery resulted in spontaneous happy dancing in the warehouse! Well done to everybody who organised, cut, sewed and generally made such a feat possible, including Help Refugees for distributing them along with all of the other aid they take out every day. You can find out more about our ongoing poncho project at camcrag.org.uk/ponchos
The next convoy is on 20th-22nd April, you can find out more and sign up now at camcrag.org.uk/convoys
It may seem like I’m missing out the most important people here, the refugees themselves.
There are between 500 and 800 in Calais/Dunkirk living in terrible conditions, harassed by police and generally needing human compassion. I was fortunate to meet many on Saturday during food distributions and was struck again by the the kindness, solidarity and patience that they show. But they shouldn’t have to. Shout out to the three 6(ish) year old girls who tried to kidnap me from a distribution because I wouldn’t give them all the plastic cups. You won this time.