Hundreds of people have filled cars and vans with tons of donated goods from their towns and cities and taken them over to the refugee camps in Calais. This outpouring of support is very welcome, and we in City of Sanctuary applaud this growing movement while we continue to develop a culture of welcome for asylum seekers and refugees across local towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.
The camps in Calais have been overwhelmed with donations and their warehouses are full and their infrastructure is very stretched by the arrival of unannounced cars and vans with donations. At the moment the stockpiling is causing a problem as is the un-organised distribution of goods within the camps. The most effective strategy is to ensure that the charities on the ground are expecting you and can advise on what the shortages are.
City of Sanctuary also encourages everyone who wants to help the people in Calais to consider donating to the Doctors of the World Calais Appeal. Doctors of the World are the only medical charity working in Calais and every penny donated to this appeal goes directly to Calais and enables them to buy things that people actually need. It also provides medical equipment and medicines etc. to help with people who are sick and vulnerable and to deal with the many injuries and accidents that are happening. This is where the very real need is and Doctors of the World can ensure that the most vulnerable benefit from people’s generosity.
If you are receiving donated goods for Calais, it could also be appreciated in your local town or city by clothing banks available for asylum seekers, many of whom find themselves destitute at some point in their journey towards refugee status. Right now, energy might be better focussed on fundraising and sending cash, which will result in the right aid reaching the right people.