The Chios People's Kitchen, Chios
The island of Chios in Greece lies less than 4.5m miles from the Turkish coast and has a population of c. 53,000 people. Chios received 850,000 refugees in 2015. At that time Chios was a stopping point on a longer journey towards a more hopeful future, away from devastation and war. Refugees spent one or two nights here in the camps and then took the ferry to Athens and further into Europe to seek asylum. The EU-Turkey deal on 20 March 2016 aimed to stop refugee flows through Greece, however this never stopped. At the same time, neighbouring countries also put up walls to stop refugees entering Eastern Europe.
There are now 4,000 refugees who are not able to leave the island, all borders into the rest of Europe closed. They live across 2 camps in big tents, one detention centre and spreading onto the streets, all way beyond their full capacity, and lack the most basic amenities.
The Chios People's Kitchen is run by a dedicated team of refugees living on Chios Island. The team prepare delicious vegan meals for refugee children and toddlers, as well as creatively seeks other opportunities to help more people in need. Most importantly, this initiative is more than just preparing meals for others. It’s a place of empowerment for the refugees who volunteer here and is also a positive example for the wider community to see how refugees can live and work alongside locals peacefully, harmoniously and successfully.
Hope Cafe, Athens
The Hope Café opened in February 2017 in Athens, Greece. Founded by a British woman based in Athens and run by a dedicated international team of volunteers, Hope Cafe’s primary function is to feed hope to the hungry in Athens, with the intention of creating new relationships, enjoyable volunteer experiences and new work enterprises within the Greek community. They also provide on the job training to enable people to access work with a view to supporting themselves. As well as serving food, the Hope Café provides clothing, baby equipment and other essentials to refugees. A key element of their work is to give people choice – refugees coming to the Hope Café can choose what they would like to eat and drink and can choose clothes and shoes. For people whose lives are largely in others’ hands, this ability to make even small choices preserves dignity.
Hope Café is staffed entirely by volunteers from all over the world. Currently they:
*Feed more than 1400 people per week.
*Serve 2000 Drinks from Frappe to Fanta per week.
*Clothe 50 per day.
*Provide nappies and milk to 130 families.
*Provide Emergency Food packs to Families arriving from the Islands with no provisions made other than a roof over their heads.
*Supply Strollers and have a constant waiting list.
*Supply Beds and Layettes for New Babies.
*Supply bags and suitcases to Travelling Families.
The number of people accessing Hope Café’s services is increasing daily – there is a constant need for funds and donations to stock the café and to increase the range of services that they can offer.
Find out more here.
Refugee Community Kitchen - Dunkirk and Northern France
Refugee Community Kitchen was created in the Autumn of 2015 to help the refugees living in the camps of Europe.
Having seen tens of thousands of people forced to leave their homes and living in awful conditions in northern France, the Refugee Community Kitchen was set up by a group of event organisers, chefs, caterers, Doula’s teachers and activists, coming together to offer assistance in the form of nourishing meals and access to fresh food daily.
The aim of Refugee Community Kitchen is to feed where food is needed, to build where it is needed and to give support to volunteers on the ground. RCK provide hot nourishing food on a daily basis to over 3000 men, women and children in Dunkirk and other camps across France.
There are currently over 2000 refugees in a camp in Samos that has capacity for only 800 and new boats are arriving from Turkey every week. It is widely recognised that the conditions there are dangerous and inadequate.
Samos Volunteers is an independent group of volunteers responding to the refugee crisis. They provide help and support to refugees and asylum-seekers living in the camp and shelters on Samos, by instilling a sense of normality, combatting boredom, and empowering people while they wait for their asylum to be processed. They endeavour to do this by identifying and fulfilling the needs of new arrivals and vulnerable people, and sustaining informal educational activities and recreational projects for both children and adults.
Their work is entirely carried out by private donations, 100% of which goes straight towards projects in support of refugees and the running costs of our group. This helps to purchase educational equipment for teachers and students, supplies for recreational activities and workshops, and equipment for DIY projects and building work. Whenever possible, we purchase vital items locally to avoid extensive delivery costs and contribute to the island’s economy.
For more information on the current situation in Samos, read here.