Refugees and volunteers laugh the queue away in Brussels

Refugees and volunteers laugh the queue away in Brussels

This week, we went to Brussels to distribute walking boots. This is an expensive item for Care4Calais, but more importantly, it’s a high-value item to the refugees as they walk many miles. As you can imagine, shoes get sodden very quickly when you’re living in the pouring rain.

We were told it would be a tough distribution, and it was. There is great need and we never have enough for everyone. The refugees must queue for everything, from food and clothes to basic hygiene essentials, and this is no different.

To help manage the long queue, we gave out raffle tickets which could be exchanged for either a new pair of boots, a power bank, or a pair of headphones, all highly sought-after items.

The queuing was long and tedious, and frustration was understandable. The line was over an hour long and there was no guarantee they would get something at the end. However, this didn’t stop the refugees from asking where we are from, to laugh at how bad our local football teams are, or to jokingly mock me when I said I could only speak one language. Even the teenage refugees are able to speak at least two fluently!

One of the favourite past-times in the queue was to pretend to lose their ticket, only to produce it a minute later. It was this type of thing which really helped to pass the time: the majority of refugees were just waiting in line, happy to chat and have a bit of fun with those around them.

It was all made worthwhile when some young new arrivals to Belgium were able to exchange their soggy old trainers for a new pair of waterproof boots. The young men and their friends were so grateful for something that would improve their quality of life so much.

This distribution could not have taken place without the great volunteers or wonderful people who enabled Care4Calais to buy brand-new boots for those most in need. Thank you all so much.

— written by a volunteer

To volunteer or donate, just click here.

About Care4Calais

Care4Calais was founded by a group of volunteers with the sole aim of supporting the people of the Calais refugee camps, providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and important legal and medical support.

We are not politicians – we are people like you who simply believe that every human has the right to be treated in a fair and dignified way.

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