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Over the summer, numbers of refugees have once again climbed in Northern France and there are now between 2 - 3 thousand people sleeping rough on the streets of Calais, Dunkirk, Paris and Brussels.  Conditions are worse than ever, with no shelter from the elements, no proper access to sanitation, no reliable food supply and police aggressively and continuously moving people on so that a full nights sleep and is rare and possessions are always at risk.

Care4Calais is, as always, working to help the people living under these terrible pressures; providing clean clothes and underwear to those who might not have changed their clothes in weeks - this leads to all kinds of infections, skin diseases and other health hazards; providing dry socks and waterproof walking boots to combat foot infections and foot rot; making up food packs with dried fruit and nuts, cereal bars and fruit juice to provide healthy, easy to carry snacks for when food cant be found; distributing warm winter coats that keep people dry even when the police confiscate sleeping bags.

To ensure we can continue this important work please donate whatever you can now:
Donate
Dunkirk

As part of our ongoing work in the Dunkirk camp we distributed over 200 winter coats as the weather is getting colder. There have been hardly any distributions of men's clothes here and we were inundated with requests for joggers and men's underwear. Our top needs for winter will include small men's clothes, winter coats and waterproof walking boots.

We also took five boxes of clothes to the women's and children's group to support the great work that they do.

Conditions here continue to deteriorate as we head towards winter, and we remain outraged that any humans should be left to live like this.

To volunteer please see below:

Volunteer
Calais
We met these young boys today on a patch of scrubland in Calais where they sleep - or try to. One of them was dressed only in shorts, one had a jacket that was too small to zip up, and one was dressed in clothes that were so ripped and threadbare he looked like a theater actor playing a beggar - but this is real.

Only a weeks days ago in the August sun this might not have seemed so bad. But in the early days of October temperatures are starting to drop and I remember with horror the long days and nights of last winter that were so never ending and so brutally cold.

This time we can give them warm clothes and even sleeping bags. There are only five of them. We can buy them the rare treat of hot kebabs and chips. But we don't have enough to do this for everyone.

Please start thinking about winter, and what it will mean for the refugees, now. If you can, collect. If you can't collect, donate. If you can't donate, share.

Needs List
Brussels

Last week we took shoes to the refugees at Maximilian Park in Brussels. We can't do this often because shoes are so expensive; but providing dry footwear is one of the greatest impacts we can make on the refugees' quality of life. The medics tell us that foot infections from dirty and wet footwear is one of the most common ailments they are now seeing.

A striking thing about the day was how many refugees have run away from the area and are now too scared to be seen in public. The Belgian Kitchen reports having to drive round at night to find people when distributing food. This is a direct result of the massive increase in police activity over the last three weeks, with arrests, detentions and even deportation been employed.

We would like to thank Oxford Refugee Solidarity for supporting us today.

To buy a pair of waterproof walking boots for a refugee you can donate £20:

I Pledge A Pair of Shoes
Volunteer Stories
Paris

In Paris we set off to deliver a van packed full of supplies to refugees. We took sleeping bags, blankets, coats and clothes, toiletries, hats and socks, underwear, tents and roll mats. Travelling with us was Pierre, a volunteer who is also a refugee himself, from Burundi, who was recently granted asylum in Belgium.

Despite the three hour travel time it was highly informative journey learning about the history of Burundi and the hardships Pierre experienced in his life which led to his current circumstances. This was an eye opening and educational story which I felt privileged to hear. It was truly humbling, especially as Pierre was so keen to come on the road trip as it had long been his dream to see the Eiffel Tower with his own eyes.

On arrival in Paris, we drove to Montmartre where we unloaded the van so that the donations could be distributed later that day. We had also brought with us a bag of supplies to take straight to the refugees ourselves.

We headed out and soon located a group of maybe 30 refugees congregated together. We approached and began asking if anybody needed anything and within a minute our supplies of hats, socks and cereal bars were gone. The weather is getting colder and it was very clear that all the things we had brought in the van would be needed that night. We spent a small amount of time talking to the refugees who approached us wishing to share their problems and seek advice on issues we were sadly unable to assist with, yet provided a sympathetic ear. Pierre also recognised several refugees he had met in on his last trip to Brussels, who had made their way to Paris after police action in Brussels the day before.

It was then time to leave but we decided that it wouldn't delay us too much to drive to Sacre Coeur in the hope we could help Pierre fulfil his ambition. As fate would have it, a van sized parking space was waiting for us right outside the church so we parked up and introduced Pierre to the wonderful view it offered of Paris. We walked around and Pierre was able to fulfil his ambition and see the Eiffel Tower, albeit in the distance, with his own eyes and have his photo taken with it.

- written by Aisha, a Care4Calais volunteer

If you can donate to help the many refugees sleeping rough in Paris please see below:

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Care4Calais · 32 Silverdale Road · Burgess Hill · Sussex, RH15 0EF · United Kingdom