Latest from Calais…

We hope you are warm and enjoying the wintery blast….here is a small update:

We resumed evening hot food service in Calais after not serving for 4 days. We suspended our service in order to encourage the uptake of new hot food distributions by La Vie Active (LVA), which were the result of the overdue decision by the French Government to engage with a daily meal service for displaced peoples in the region. In the early days there was little to no attendance at LVA food distributions, so we started to complement their offering with hot food and tea in the evenings.

The reason people were not coming was mostly down to trust and safety issues, as people saw LVA as the same as the government sanctioned police who show daily aggression and hostility towards them. There is now slightly more uptake of their food offering (breakfast + lunch). We commend LVA for adapting their distribution techniques, serving outside of the compound and reaching out to the different areas and communities, it seems to be working slowly.

We will continue with Calais evening service (600-650 portions), Dunkirk daily (300-400) and outreach in London (200-250 portions per week).

Our wonderful volunteers and chefs are working hard to make nutrient rich, colourful food. Our dishes are made with huge amounts of love and creativity and we’ve taken the rainbow diet concept to next level with a rainbow bulb in one of our extractors hoods!

Huge thanks to all our supporters and sister organisations – L’Auberge des Migrants InternationalHelp Refugees & Utopia 56.

Much love, stay warm xx

RCK Temporarily Halts Food Distribution in Calais

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.

Volunteering for RCK

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown

Wishing you all a Peaceful & Happy New Year!

Daily distribution of food

Our Calais lunch distribution goes like this:

We set up two tables with 3 volunteers serving rice, curry & salad at each table.

Set up a table for condiments and a table for hot tea.

One person gives plates and another person, the ‘runner,’ moves between the tables replacing ‘gastros’ as their contents run low.

Once most people have food, one table shuts down and the non-serving volunteers collect litter and chat with people.

The distribution takes about two hours.

Rain or shine, we’re out there showing solidarity and providing hot food and hopefully a tiny break from the miserable, muddy cold.

Please help us help people by sharing & donating what you can!

HAPPY (BELATED) BDAY TO RCK!

433787ab-a63d-46c5-bf79-05f73e96fafeSince its start on 1 December, 2016 RCK has:
  • Served over 1,825,000 warm, nutritious meals.
  • Not missed a service. That’s 732 days or 1/4 million hours.
  • Been supported by over 12,000 volunteers.
  • Fundraised for & built a restaurant-grade kitchen and multiple community kitchens in refugee camps.
  • Supported thousands of people through three major camp evictions, multiple fires and dozens of smaller upheavals.
  • Sent aid to Paris & 3 containers of food to Syria.
  • Given out lots & lots of love.

Despite numerous hardships and an extremely limited budget, we continue to do the right thing. Rain or shine, in the face of perpetual upheaval, police abuse and whatever other obstacles come our way, we will continue to serve wholesome, soul-warming food to displaced people at home and abroad.

Two years on and we’re more needed than ever. Much love and thanks to all of you who have donated, volunteered, fundraised, shared & cared- we couldn’t have made it this far without you! Please keep giving & sharing so that we can keep going.

❤️🍽✊️

Paula, Steve, Janie, Sam &
Refugee Community Kitchen

DONATE

Here are two more ways you can help RCK this winter!
RCK T-SHIRTS & HOODIES!

Cozy & stylish, this RCK gear is gorgeous, organic and ethically produced!

Read More…

2018 RCK RECIPE CALENDAR

Twelve months worth of soul-warming RCK recipes scaled down so you can make them at home. Yum!✊️🍽

Read More…

Every purchase will go towards nourishing meals for people living rough this winter.
🍴❄❤
PS. Did you know that…?

RCK 2 Year Anniversary Update!

Who would have thought that two years in, the need would still be so high?

We thought it would just be a short stint of helping people on their way.

There have been moments of hope, mixed with desperate times. And now things have changed, unfortunately for the worse.

The challenges for the refugees and volunteers are relentless. The journey shown in our film below has been full of so many up & downs, full of so many tears and love, full of so much human tragedy.

Every soul served in the last two years pushes Refugee Community Kitchen to keep feeding the need without judgement.

We couldn’t have made it this far without your generosity & support. Please Like, love, donate & share far and wide so that we can keep going! -> bit.ly/rckdonate