Firstly, Merry Christmas everyone, and a HUGE thank you to everyone who has donated to help us take aid to refugees in need this January! We have raised over £9,000 to take much needed supplies and hot meals to the people in the camp during the harshness of winter. Our crowd fund is now closed, but we will still be taking donations up until the we leave on the 13th January. Please get in touch for details.
Now we call upon your current festive mood and ask you to dig deep into your wardrobes for warm clothing, jumpers, winter coats, wellies, boots, tents and sleeping bags. Winter is setting in and these people are in desperate need of warmth and shelter. So.. Did Granny buy you a horrific jumper this year? We will take it! Still trying to fix the broken zip on that sleeping bag? Give it up.. we will take it! Are you waiting for that NafNaf jacket to come back into fashion? Don't, it won't, we will take it!
We will be taking your donations of clothing and supplies at The Archers Pub, 42 Osborn Street (Just off Brick Lane) from today until the 10th January. Please see the website for opening times and directions. Please note: For clothing donations we are looking for mens clothing only for January, and please only warm winter wear. No t shirts, shorts etc. Women and children's clothes are not currently in need.
More information on our upcoming trip here.
A little on our last trip to camp -
In September a team of us organised by The Coach & Horses in Soho, went to the camp in Calais to feed displaced peoplein the refugee camp. This January, a group of us Street food traders from London and beyond are raising funds to return for 5 days in January from the 13th – 17th Jan, supplying hot meals and taking much needed supplies such as sleeping bags, tents, coats, building supplies and basic cooking equipment to people in the camp during winter.
Back in September we witnessed first hand the desperate conditions these people were living in. The lack of a good meal, and little protection from the bitter cold, coastal wind and rain.
The first day was difficult to swallow, and it’s hard to put into words the conditions in which they live. Some are lucky enough to have obtained one of the temporary shelters, but as the camp is so overcrowded, the majority of people arrive with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and rely on volunteers on the ground to help them obtain tents or materials to build their own shelters.
As we served breakfast on the first day in camp, I watched as a group of new arrivals began to build a home from plastic sheeting and the branches of a tree. Within minutes they were joined by at least 20 existing residents of the camp and had a basic home built within the hour. It would offer no protection from the biting cold that night, but at least a little from the rain.
The next day I spoke with Saed who lived in the shelter with his young brother, and asked if they managed to keep dry last night. He told me that the ground flooded from below, turning their floor into mud. Thankfully we had wooden pallets in the van, which meant at least they wouldn’t have to sleep in the cold wet mud for another night.
Over the 4 days we met nothing but warm, kind and grateful people, all with their own heartbreaking backgrounds of how they ended up in this situation. Keen to show their gratitude, invited us into their homes, and not taking no for an answer gave us what they had feeding us rice and hot tea. We sat with them until the early hours singling and laughing. It showed us that although their lives are broken, they will not allow their sprits to be.
This January we return with a team of street food traders, chefs, and an amazing team of volunteers which currently includes us, Rupert’s Street, Streatza, The Bowler, What The Dickens!, Fleisch Mob, ForzaWin and BBQ Dreamz.
The funds raised will now be spent on food and supplies to take with us in January, along with cooking equipment leave with the camps enabling them to cook themselves hot meals and generate some warmth during a very cold and wet few months to come.
Any clothing and shelter donations will go a long way to ensuring these people who have already been through so much, are given a warm and dry place to call home. It's the very least we can do during the season of goodwill, right?
Thank's for reading and Merry Christmas x