CALAIS APPEAL 2022
Pope Francis said, “As Christians, we cannot be indifferent to the tragedy of old and new forms of poverty, to the bleak isolation, contempt and discrimination experienced by those who do not belong to ‘our group’” and added, “we cannot remain insensitive, our hearts deadened, before the misery of so many innocent people. We must not fail to weep. We must not fail to respond.”
During the three winters preceding Covid, this parish has been extraordinarily generous in helping refugees stranded around Calais and along the northern coast of France.
Whatever the political rights and wrongs of why people risk everything to make the perilous journey from their homeland in the hope of getting to the UK, their situation when they arrive at the French coast is appalling. The brutality of the French “forces of order” is relentless, and human rights are regularly breached. For instance, the authorities deny access to clean water, and frequently attempt to prevent the distribution of food and firewood by the aid agencies working there.
- There are currently around 2000 refugees, including about 300 unaccompanied children, living rough in wooded areas, disused warehouses and under bridges in and around Calais.
- Several hundred more are staying in a forest in Grande-Synth close to Dunkirk.
- In 2020 police seized nearly 5000 tents and sleeping bags in more than 950 routine “clearances”. This continues.
- The number of asylum applications in Britain fell in 2020 to 29,456 (in France there were 93,475, and in Germany 121,955).
- Up to December 2021 more than 23,500 risked their lives to cross the Channel
(Sources: Human Rights watch; Human Rights Observers).
The conditions are appalling and insanitary. The aid agencies such as the Auberge des Migrants and Care4Calais distribute hot meals, firewood, clean dry clothes, tents and sleeping bags, as well as offering facilities from vans for phone recharging and Wi-Fi. To say it is useless to keep replacing what the police confiscate would be to leave vulnerable human beings cold, wet, and hungry. Refugees will keep on coming, as long as there is war, famine, oppression and climate change.
Below you will find a list of current needs, which we shall be collecting the weeks of 23 and 30 January. In Bungay these can be left under cover in the presbytery porch, and in Harleston at Jay’s Green Chapel (on those two Sundays). Please note we cannot take anything that is not on the list. Two members of the CAFOD team will then deliver your material donations to a collection point in St Albans. There will also be a second collection on those two Sundays. if you want to donate online go to
https://www.laubergedesmigrants.fr/en/donate (and click the Union Flag icon for the English version). At present money is needed to buy in wood for distribution each day. This is the only source of heat people living rough have.
Please give generously once more. This is a humanitarian disaster on our doorstep.
For a more in-depth picture of the conditions suffered by refugees around Calais in winter, here is an article (with permission) which was in The Big Issue in December. Click on the link in blue.
The CAFOD team.
LIST OF CURRENT NEEDS
Priority (out of stock):
- Trainers or walking shoes (40-43 EU / 9-12 UK)
- Tents (for 2 or 3 people) and tarpaulins
- Thick blankets
- Sleeping bags
- Men’s waterproof jackets or coats
- New boxers/shorts (S-M)
- Winter hats, gloves and scarves, snoods
- Jumpers, thin or thick, fleece
- Waterproof ponchos (including disposable ones)
- Thermal T-shirts and trousers
- Backpacks (under 40L), corduroy bags
- Disposable razors
- Shampoo and shower gel
- Lip balm
- Body lotion, moisturiser
- Wet wipes
- Disposable cups (for hot drinks)
- French Lyca SIM cards
- European plugs/adapters (to use British plugs in France)
- Trash bags
- Reusable bags
- Thick parcel tape or gaffer tape
- Permanent markers
- Functional and unlocked mobile phones
- Floor mats
- Backpacks (maximum 40 litres)
NB – THEY CANNOT ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING ITEMS And we will not collect them, so please do not donate them:
medication, damaged or soiled items, all types of clothing L and XL suit shirts safety shoes, rubber boots, suit or dress shoes, women’s and children’s clothing, ski suits or overalls, camouflage patterns, satanic symbols, religious symbols, sexual references, alcohol, drugs, highly shiny or fluorescent clothing, hand-knitted clothing (because it is too fragile), suitcases, duvets, small blankets (smaller than an adult).
- • The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity
- • Sunday Plus 23 January