Ben reports on another successful weekend volunteering in Calais.
At the end of March I joined my second ever convoy, also my second convoy in as many months! After going in February I felt incredibly motivated and encouraged to attend again, as soon as I could.
The work CamCRAG volunteers contribute in Calais is clearly very valuable to the organisers of the many charities operating there, providing respite for long-termers and helping to complete several of the more menial tasks that come with running a large warehouse full of donations.
The March convoy was the first convoy since the breakout of war in Ukraine. The presence of Ukrainian refugees was certainly noticeable around town, including in the hostel we stayed in. The terrible circumstances of these new refugees served to remind us of the plight of the many displaced people staying in and around Calais who have been stuck there much longer, from all corners of the world. I hope the support we were able to offer was felt by all who needed it.
I spent the first day in the Refugee Community Kitchen, preparing inordinate amounts of salad for hundreds of people, but spurred on by the enthusiasm (and music playlists) of the team leaders who volunteer there for months on end.
The second day, after a night out with fellow volunteers in (unbelievably) Le London pizzeria, was spent largely checking and sorting donations of clothes and tents in the main warehouse. Much good spirit and many good tunes propelled us through this second day too.
If you are considering joining a convoy – do it! Such a welcoming crowd you’ll never know again.