If you want to know how badly refugees in Calais need coats right now, just take a look at the queues for our coat distributions. People will stand in line for as long as it takes to have a chance of staying warmer and drier in the cold weather.
The other day it was so chilly and miserable, but one guy in the line made me smile. I asked how he was.
“I am COLD!” he said laughing. “Why do you think I’m here?” It never ceases to amaze me how people hang onto their sense of humour.
This reminded me of a conversation I once had with a Sudanese guy in the UK. He said that well-meaning people were always declaring they couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for him in France. “I say it’s not so hard,” he said. “Imagine being very cold and very wet all the time – that’s a good start!”
The volunteers on this distribution were fantastic. Despite the weather, everyone was cheerful, and working hard to find coats which were just right for each person. When you see people standing in thin jackets, or even just sweatshirts, as the wind whips in, you know that what matters most is getting them a coat.
At the end I saw the guy I’d spoken to earlier. He had a nice big jacket with a hood. “Better now!” he laughed, pointing at the coat.
This year, we are desperate to make sure that everyone has a proper coat to last them through the winter. If you have a coat in your cupboard that you no longer wear, please donate it at your nearest drop-off point: care4calais.org/thedropoffmap