Warehouses are the heart center of every refugee crisis. Without warehouses (like we saw in Serbia in January which where completely void of any aid) people would have nothing. When you flee bombs raining from the sky, you often leave with just the clothes on your back. Imagine. Nothing else. Which means that you need EVERYTHING. Shoes, socks, pants,underwear,shirt,coat…….if a refugee is in a camp they most likely have used up all of their money to get to this point- everything else must be given to them.
The camp we have been working at for 2 days in Northern Greece is truly the the best run warehouse. At every twist and turn the residents feelings are taken into account. Instead of handing someone a bag of clothes, the clothes shop opens 2X a month for people to shop. Some days men, some women and children. Today the clothes shop had sports clothing for men- a pair of shorts, a soccer shirt and a track shirt. Last week the women got to pick out Zumba outfits.
While some of our team baked 2 huge cobbles and made waffles, the rest of us worked unpacking 2 HUGE
pallets of food. There are about 6 other NGO’s working at this camp, everyone from the other NGO’s got out of their offices, took photos in front of the big pallets of food then went back to their offices.
Our work began- each box had to be opened. The pallets had to be unpacked, everything had to be put away (bulgar, beans,tuna,sugar,tea,oil) and the area cleaned up. The residents of this camp are always willing to help and soon a human chain of helpers made the work go that much faster- many hands make light work. Days are VERY long when you are not permitted to work and the children still are not attending Greek schools- they are going to the camp school where teachers in the community hold classes 5 days a week so any activity is a welcomed one!
Once the small boxes had been unpacked we had to break some of the bags of goods into smaller bags. While some of our team and the volunteers did this others were preparing for a distribution of some of the items that had just come in. Tomorrow is grocery day- but they wanted to get this new food out to everyone as soon as possible. While we
loaded everyones bags with the 8 items each we were distributing, the rest of our team was handing out the cake and waffles they had made- so many smiling faces. A little dignity- tomorrow on the right hand of the shop residents will shop for 1 each of the items on the shelf and get fresh fruit and veggies. On the right side of the shop are personal care items that people can take as they need them.