Food clothing and other essential supplies continue to pour into to Calais from across the UK, and the people of Herefordshire are doing their bit to help those living in the Jungle refugee camp.
Calais Jungle Refugee Camp
Last week a van full of donated food and water left Hereford for the long journey down to Folkstone. This is the second time donations have been taken directly from Hereford to Calais. The Hecklers own Luthur Blissett went along to assist with driving.
All the food donations that are going from Hereford to Calais are being packed and organised via the Facebook group Food Donations for Calais and Dunkirk, Hereford Group. For this trip more than a quarter of a tonne of food donations were loaded into the van.
The rest of the load was bottled water kindly donated by a local mineral water company. In all a tonne of supplies left Hereford for the long drive down to the South East. The diesel and channel tunnel costs were covered by donations by people in Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.
After arriving in Calais late afternoon, a couple of hours were spent talking to local people to get their views on the crisis. Unfortunately for us the hotel we stayed in was full of French pigs. The copper we spoke to said of the migrants “We don’t want them here. We need to change the system so we can get rid of them”.
We were expecting an equally negative opinion from local people but were pleasantly surprised. Local bar owner Pascal told us that the main problem is that tourism in Calais has collapsed. English people no longer stop there on their way home. But he said many people are sympathetic to the plight of the refugees, and they are happy to help in any way they can.
Eric, a resident of Paris who was visiting Calais, said he knew who was blame for the crisis. “David Cameron, he’s the one who can sort this out. But he prefers to play politics with these people.”
After spending the night in Calais we delivered our van load of supplies to the warehouse in an industrial estate on the west side of Calais. A hive of activity, staffed by young British volunteers, they were very grateful for our delivery. We were told that the food and water would be sorted into individual food parcels and distributed within days.
Children at the camp in 2015. Photo by Philippe Huguen
It was heartening to see the amount of tents, sleeping bags and clothing that had been sorted. Social media would have you believe that most people in the UK are antagonistic towards the refugees, but on the evidence we saw, many people give a shit and are donating a lot of essential stuff.
And it’s a good thing too. The charity Help Refugees estimates that there are over 500 unaccompanied children living in the Jungle. While British politicians argue about their tax returns, innocent children, many of whom have a right to come to the UK, are stuck in squalor and dependant on hand outs. It’s an utter disgrace but at least we can do something to help.
Once again ordinary people show that direct action can work when the politicians fail. Solidarity is alive and well and people in Hereford are playing their part.
These trips from Hereford to Calais will continue until the refugee crisis ends, and lets be honest that won’t be any time soon.
To make food donations, please click here or leave a comment below.
For more info visit –
Help Refugees www.helprefugees.org.uk/