Culinary kindness in Calais migrant camp

calaidmigrant Non-for-profit Bristol Skipchen is a collective of volunteers who create community meals made from surplus food. Now they’re stretching their community spirit and culinary kindness to Calais. They’re setting up a mobile kitchen to provide hot, nutritious meals to the thousands of displaced migrants living in the makeshift camps. So far, Bristol Skipchen (part of the Real Junk Food Project) have taken two tonnes of food waste to the French port, providing 800 meals a day for the estimated 2,000 people in the camp. Foodstuffs from supermarkets and hospitals in Bristol, as well as food acquisitions in London en route to Calais, have been cooked up to alleviate the hunger and desperation convulsing the northern French port. migrantskipchen Marianne Musset, co-director of Skipchen, reflects on the grave circumstances being faced by the migrants: “It’s a very, very desperate situation. There’s no toilets, no showers and only 600 people get fed one hot meal everyday. I think we have to be very emotionally prepared for what we’re going to find.” The migrant situation in Calais is at breaking point. Around 2,000 desperate migrants have fled war, poverty and persecution in their home countries of Syria, Mali, Eritrea and Iraq in hope of finding a better life in the UK. They have no money, little dignity, huddled in sprawling squatter camps that are blighted with continuous violence, intimidation and lawless activity. The camps have been described as “the worst camp for war refugees in Europe, if not in the world” by Christian Salome the director of voluntary migrant help group L’Auberge des Migrants. skipchen-ambulance-pic-1429805230 The world’s attention has been focussed more on the migrant situation since last week’s tragic event of human loss in the Mediterranean. An estimated 800 migrants trying to reach Europe drowned when their boat capsized off the Libyan coast. Many of the migrants who risk everything and finally make the life or death journey to Europe end up in camps like the one in Calais. Bristol Skipchen hope to highlight the humanitarian issue unravelling across the Channel, but also hope to counter the toxic anti-immigration discourse that is being generated in the press: “The Calais migrant camp was a really obvious choice to us…with all the anti-immigration rhetoric which is coming out with the national elections we wanted to highlight the issues and dispel the myth that we cannot afford to take migrants into our country”. migrantcamp Musset continues: “We all deserve the right to live free from oppression, we all deserve to be able to eat healthy nutritious food but also, because we are a food waste campaign group, all the food we will take with us is that which hasn’t been considered by society or supermarkets or the government as fit for human consumption – it is.” “It’s about highlighting this massive humanitarian issue that is on our doorstep but also, we want to get people to think about food waste and realize that we waste billions of tons of food in the UK”, she rightfully addresses. We wish Bristol Skipchen all the luck, support and positivity in their amazingly worthwhile mission. @BristolSkipchen | the Real Junk Food Project | Bristol Skipchen Facebook

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2 comments

  1. Pingback: Skipchen Solidarity Trip to Calais Migrant Camp | Kitchen Counter Culture

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