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.

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

!! Mobile Support Winter Campaign !!

Winter is coming and for most of us that means cosy evenings in our warmed homes, snacking on foods from our fridges and cupboards as and when we feel like it and sharing warming stews and hot soups with our friends and families.
Not so for the thousands in refugee camps on Europe’s borders who will be enduring freezing temperatures, scarce provisions and minimal cooking facilities.

Regardless of recent eviction announcements of the Calais camp,
Refugee Community Kitchen is dedicated to continuing the work begun in December 2015 in the Calais and Dunkirk camps where over 570,000 meals have been served to date along with the creation of self-service shops and kitchens. We will provide for these camps and all displaced peoples until we are not needed anymore.

Refugee Community Kitchen is also going mobile this winter to serve the same hot, nutritious meals that every human deserves to others living in camps across the continent.
Travelling with a full mobile catering truck, fridge truck and marquees along with a dedicated team of chefs and volunteers, we will seek those most in need and work with locals and other grassroots organisations and NGOs to enable displaced peoples to eat and cook their own food and prepare meals for their families.

Your support has been awesome and the only way we can continue with this humanitarian mission is with your continued help.
Going on-the-road and supplying our static kitchen in Calais will take a lot more money and resources so please increase your efforts to fundraise, donate and do what you can –
your help is essential and deeply appreciated.

Please share this appeal across social media channels and amongst your friends and family.
Thanks in advance
Steve, Sam, Janie & Paula