by Sr Christine Frost
The Neighbours in Poplar team set out for Folkestone just after 7am and arrived in Calais at 11.30am. There we met a number of Care4Calais volunteers at their warehouse. The volunteers came from as far afield as Massachusetts, Glasgow, Waterford, Liverpool and London. These volunteers gather and distribute goods and food to some of the centres in Calais, they also visit the railway station daily where they pick up and help refugees with food and clothes.
Following a cup of tea,the team set off for the Dunkirk camp with two of the Care4Calais volunteers, Meghan and Lily. There we had to be signed in to the camp before being allowed to enter and prove we were known to Care4Calais. Apparently recently the camp has seen a lot of police activity as the camp manager is under strict instructions from the Mayor of Calais, who really wants all refugees out of her patch as soon as possible.
The refugees are spread out in over 300 ‘boxes’, garden sheds are a palace compared to these windowless structures! There are over 1500 men, women and children living on the site with many volunteers from different organisations helping to supply a hot meal daily.
I do not know what makes them wake up each day as their future is very grim. Yet everywhere we went people returned our smiles and our greetings, children were playing like children play everywhere and there was evidence of great art work on many of the ‘boxes’.
We hope to return soon after Easter with Rice, biscuits, easy to open tinned foods and we hope to bring some games and toys for the children including footballs.