What we saw in Calais, is a humanitarian crisis
What we saw in Calais is a humanitarian crisis, on our doorstep. Whatever your views on immigration these are people in desperate need. Our first day volunteering, we prepared and distributed shoes. We discovered the importance of providing the refugees some dignity by only handing out new or good condition second hand donations. We made sure that as far as possible, all the shoes were of similar quality, so that no one felt they were being given something less than others.
We placed socks in each pair, loaded the van and headed out on distribution. Sadly, like in most of the distributions we took part in, there was more people than we had items to hand out. We gave out everything we had and closed the van.
We then set up a refreshments station, served hot and cold drinks, some biscuits, and started getting to know some of the people there. Many of the refugees in Calais speak English but even when English is poor we managed to understand each other.
Many of the stories we heard were heartbreaking. I discovered that just showing a friendly face and letting them know that someone cares is as important as the goods we handed out.
Volunteering was an incredible experience, and if you’re thinking about getting involved any little thing can help. So please look at the website and consider making a donation of clothes or money, however small.” – Written by Ken Byrne, a Care4Calais volunteer.
Photography by: Rolf H. Epple