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

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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…?

Our new kitchen is up and running!

It never even crossed our minds to close when the French authorities told us we’d need to undertake this massive, expensive project!

With your continued support and the work of amazing volunteers of Refugee Community Kitchen we built a new kitchen. We are so full of gratitude Matt CurtisThomas ChambonAlex Ch and everyone else who made this happen. Thank you!

New kitchen…nearly ready!

Six months ago we balked when the French authorities told us we needed to upgrade to a restaurant grade kitchen if we wanted to continue supporting refugees. The same authorities who where taking shoes, slashing sleeping bags and spraying pepper spray in water tanks, were concerned that we weren’t washing the salad for displaced peoples correctly. This demand however would bring us up to local norms, and would be a great improvement in functionality.

The amount of money and work needed was immense and intimidating, but after many hundreds of hours of planning, fundraising, and building we are proud to say that our new kitchen is almost ready!

A message from co-founder Paula Gallardo

26166207_10154939979005755_4462941993404545394_nThank you all for your messages of support, your likes and loves, all your shares and donations!

The work in Calais is getting tough as the cold sets in. Colder days with northwest winds and freezing downpours are desperately difficult for all the refugees sleeping rough in the woods and worrying for those of us trying to care for them.

The authorities are quick to destroy any bedding and shelter. We’re not sure how people are surviving without tents and sleeping bags.

Even in tough financial times for RCK (and all the groups helping <3 L’Auberge des Migrants, Help Refugees Utopia 56), our food still flows.

This autumn we really tightened the belt and looked hard at how to make diminishing donations last until spring. After that who knows… We will carry on serving nourishing food for as long as we can.

We are still the ONLY source of hot food in the region, providing 2750 meals a day with as much honour & dignity as possible.

Your many fundraisers are filling us with hope and assuring us that we’re not alone. It’s so nice to know that everyone cares.

Refugee Community Kitchen is a community project that is funded purely by YOU, without any government help. Only people helping people. We are proud, and you should be too.

If anyone has fundraising ideas and tools, is thinking of getting their community involved, or has connections to high profile people who care, please contact us at refugeecommunitykitchen@gmail.com

Please help us help thousands of souls make it through the winter by sharing and giving what you can -> bit.ly/rckdonate

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts (in the same way that we are thanked by the beautiful people we are serving every single day).

Much Love,
RCK TEAM