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!

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!

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

RCK November Newsletter

Hello Fine Friends, Family & RCK Supporters,

It’s windy & rainy here but thankfully temperatures have not yet dipped to the normal biting autumn conditions. That being said, winter is coming.

Besides making 2550 meals a day (over 75,000 a month), and providing ingredients to those with cooking capacities, we are working hard on the new kitchen (it’s almost finished) and raising funds and awareness. We’ll needyour help if we are going to support people during the brutal winter months! 

Our work is hard but we’re blessed compared to the 1200-1500 people living in horrible conditions in northern France. Local authorities continue their dissuade & disperse tactics, including violent dawn raids, bedding destruction, theft of footwear, etc., as if living outdoors without basic sanitation wasn’t bad enough.

We are dangerously low on funds, in order to carry on we need your help

Hello from RCK!
DONATE

Our unbroken service of almost 23 months has been made possible by your enthusiasm and consistent help! We thank all who continue to support us and all that are getting involved.

❤️🍽✊️

Refugee Community Kitchen

PS.
Here’s a sneak peek from the RCK recipe calendar we’re putting together. Soon you’ll be able to support us by buying a calendar full of our favorite soul-warming recipes! 

Sabzi-Chickpeas-Basmati

By Ugo Alessandro Conti

Ingredients

– 400g Basmati

– 400g Cooked Chickpeas

– Herbs: Dill, Coriander, Parsley, Mint,Leeks/Spring Onions

– 5 Cloves of Garlic cloves

– Salt

– Sunflower Oil

– Olive Oil

Method

Wash rice then soak in salted lukewarm water for about an hour.

Heat the oven to 190. Roast the chickpeas in olive oil and salt for 20 minutes-ish until golden & crunchy.

Peel the garlic and chop into chunks. Wash the Herbs and chop them finely.

Drain the rice then boil the mix of Herbs in water, oil & salt. Bring back to boil, wait five minutes and then boil the Basmati for 4/5th of the cooking process of the grain (until it is about 75% done). Drain.

Take a pot. Oil the bottom of it and add a sprinkle of water, add the rice, roasted chickpeas and garlic. Put the lid on and steam for 40 minutes on medium-low heat without opening.

At this point you should have a nice an fragrant smell of rice and herbs. Flip the pot upside-down and serve this crispy cake-shaped rice dish.