The community kitchen that feeds the refugees in Calais and the homeless in Camden

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“It wasn’t really a question of why, but why not,” Janie Mac says of the startup. Refugee community kitchen (RCK), a charity providing hot meals to people in need in France and the UK. “We believe everyone deserves a meal that you or I would expect on our dining room table, and we see no reason why they shouldn’t have it.”

RCK was founded in 2015 in response to the refugee crisis in northern France, after Mac and a group of volunteers traveled to the Calais Jungle, a refugee and migrant camp that housed thousands of people. and was dismantled five years ago. The group raised funds and procured the equipment to set up a kitchen near the camp and prepared meals from donated surplus food. But it wasn’t long before they realized that much of that food didn’t have a shelf life long enough to make it to Calais and, motivated by the growing number of homeless people in London, they put set up local services throughout the city to feed the underprivileged. people in need of a home cooked meal.

RCK Awareness in Camden is his oldest project in the UK. It was founded in 2016 after a successful fundraiser for a supper club. He buys basic necessities like rice and onions, but gets most of his food from the Felix Project, a charity that avoids the waste of surplus food, to serve dozens of hot meals four days a week in the entire borough of Camden. “We’ve tapped into this amazing world of chefs and cooks who come and want to deliver a nutritious and delicious meal to those who need it without any judgment,” says Mac. RCK also offers local services to Brixton, East London and Edinburgh.

The group’s kitchens closed throughout the first lockdown, but reopened afterward and continued to operate throughout the pandemic. “Service on the street is more important than just a meal,” says Mac. “The people are alone; people want human contact. They come here because it is a safe space.

The organization continues to provide 1,500 meals a day to migrants and refugees who remain in Calais. He was forced to close his kitchen after the camp closed in 2016, but a rotating group of volunteers serve food wherever people congregate, providing meals for migrants and refugees in Germany and the north of the country. France.

All the money RCK collects through donations and its shop – which sells hoodies, t-shirts and its wildly popular recipe calendars – is used to purchase food and support operations in the UK and in the north of France. This year’s calendar features recipes from RCK resident cooks as well as British chef Andi Oliver and Michelin-starred Italian maestro Giorgio Locatelli. Mac’s favorite recipe is Afghan Eggs, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. “People sit and eat it together and commune. It’s just a good dish.

Find out about the new refugee support fund in London.

Support the Cue Point program to make the restaurant industry more accessible to refugees.

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