A touching display of generosity at today’s blanket distribution
Something really heartwarming happened today. We were giving out shirts, socks, boxer shorts and blankets in Calais and there was a huge queue – more than 100 men and women waiting for a pack. Then everyone at the front of the line started calling over a man who was at the hairdressing station nearby, inviting him to skip the queue. He was using crutches and couldn’t walk very well.
He said no because he didn’t want to jump the queue and told his friends that he would join at the back, but everyone kept insisting. They wouldn’t take no for an answer. Even after we opened the van for distribution to begin, everyone waited patiently until the man with the crutches agreed to come over.
People at this site have been through a lot recently. On Friday police undertook a mass eviction there, confiscating their belongings and putting them on a bus to Paris. They have spent the last four days making their way back. Everyone is sleeping on waste ground, with no tents or sleeping bags. In these conditions, a blanket goes a long way – it at least keeps them warm at night. They would have every right to be desperate to get our pack as fast as possible. And yet they all made sure their friend got his first.
Ever since we heard the news of the eviction we have been stopping by whenever we can to give them tea, coffee, snacks, access to charging points, and to have a chat. The last is probably the most important. They really need a friendly face right now.
Each base layer pack costs £5 to put together and helps keep a refugee clean and warm. To contribute go to care4calais.org/donate