Four months ago, in October 2016, the Jungle camp in Calais was evicted and demolished… 10,000 people were sent to every corner of France to CAOs, RCK thought that the need would be greatly reduced and our operation would not be needed on the scale it had been for the past 11 months. Yes, our hot food distribution has greatly reduced; instead of 2500-3000 meals a day we are now serving between 300-500 meals everyday. A relative breeze for the amazing chefs and long-term volunteers we have in our kitchen.
However, since the closure of the Jungle camp we have far from slowed down our operations and RCK is now just as busy as ever and spending more and more money on food security for the 1400 refugees that have not been evicted from the La Liniere camp in Grande Synthe or have returned from the CAOs to sleep rough in and around Calais, just in a different way.
RCK has two FREE shops in the La Liniere camp supplying food to the 1200 residents of the camp and maintaining the 7 community kitchens that we built in March 2015 to allow the residents to cook their own food.
Once again we have taken the same stance we took when serving thousands daily in the jungle and we make sure the stocking of the shops is done with dignity and respect in mind. We only put food on the shelf that is in date, we make sure we have fresh vegetables everyday as well as fresh bread when we have the money to. Using a ticketing system that was devised by one of the camps most dedicated people, Laure, residents can come to the shop everyday to get what they need so they do not have to stock pile food in their small shelters and take up valuable space, people have started to bring food back to the shops now as they realise that we are going nowhere in a hurry and we are always fully stocked with the basics.
No more just taking what they have been offered they can now choose what they want daily.
Dignity and Respect.
RCK is also working with outreach groups in and around northern France to supply hot and cold food to the smaller camps and squats that are now re-appearing due to the CAOs closing and people returning.
Every day we hear of new arrivals and we offer help where we can, be it daily drop offs of hot food to the 20 young men living in a old building or weekly drops of cold food to small camps 1hrs drive away from the kitchen.
There are also regular drop offs of baked goods to Paris for the outreach teams to give out in the night packs.
Our work here is far from over and we do not see an end in sight.
After the fire in one of our community kitchens that became the Women’s Centre 10 days ago we have once again called on the skills of Finn Kay and Rob Crook who have dropped everything to assemble their teams and are now on the ground to rebuild the centre so that women will once again have a safe space to be and to cook for their families.
None of this is possible without your continued support both in person with your donations and multiple skill sets (we love meeting you) and with your hard earned money so please do continue to come and to spread the word that its not over in northern France..
With LOVE, DIGNITY and RESPECT we will continue to help others less fortunate..