Yesterday, for the first time in 28 months, Refugee Community Kitchen did not serve hot food in Calais. This being due to the local authorities fulfilling the promise made by president Macron to provide food to refugees sleeping rough in Calais.
RCK has temporarily halted food distributions in Calais for a number of reasons including:
- allowing the gov-funded distributions time to succeed
- avoiding blame by the gov and press for a lack of recipients
- the authorities have threatened to fine our vehicles if we return to our regular distribution point (where we’ve been serving hot meals twice daily to about 400 refugees who sleep rough in the woods and nearby wastelands for over a year).
Below is footage of the new government-funded distribution point, which is in a compound surrounded by fences that are ominously crowned with razor wire. The wall of journalists waiting inside to film was most inappropriate and completely deaf to the peoples’ needs and safety. The food consisted of beef and potatoes. No fresh vegetables.
We’re still busy today, making 400 meals for the Dunkirk community and creating nutritious and sustaining ‘cold’ food packs for people in the region who are able to cook for themselves.
Our teams are visiting all of the new distribution points to talk with and listen to refugees on the ground so that we can hear their needs and share this information with the govt-funded associations in order that they can succeed.
All that being said, hundreds of people refused to go to the govt-funded food distributions yesterday, some for political reasons (people won’t accept food until the government halts its violent evictions and confiscation of their belongings) and others out of mistrust for authorities who are known to fill sleeping bags with pepper spray in the middle of the night.
While we hope that the French government will step up and fulfil its duty to support and protect the vulnerable people living on its soil, we are committed to making sure that no one is overlooked or undernourished in northern France.