Would you donate just £1 if you knew it could provide a piping hot meal to a refugee travelling on foot through the Balkans in such cold and horrible weather?
Since my successful aid trips down to the Balkans, I have been active in assisting others plan and execute similar trips of their own to various places where there are refugees in need of help. Much focus is still on Calais, Dunkirk and, even further afield, the Greek islands - which are under immense strain.
We will be setting off with their own aid convoy to the Balkans - a place which still has a large refugee crisis but which is not so much in the news in recent months. I have assisted them with not only their route planning and logistics issues, but also with the gathering of donated items to take with them such as warm clothing and footwear. They are funding their own travel costs and plan to stay for around 3 to 4 weeks - helping wherever they can.
To date, they have almost filled a large van with donated items, as well as a trailer that will be towed behind a campervan. I will not be going on this trip (as much as I would like to!) due to commitments here in the UK.
I was contacted today by someone who has a surplus stock of MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat). They are basically the same as the ration pack meals provided to soldiers across the world. They are from the halal menu range, certified halal - not just pork free, and they will pass their 'best before' date in just a couple of months. The range of meals include:
Veg pasta with beans
Chicken sweet & sour with rice
Veg all day breakfast
Veg & chickpea biryani
3 bean chilli
Also on offer are some 'flameless' ration meal cookers/heaters. These are basically just a bag that you insert the meal into, add a small amount of liquid to activate and then re-seal. Within just 10 minutes the meal is piping hot. Totally safe, no need for a fire or cooker and minimal waste.
(This photo is for illustration purposes only and is not the brand actually on offer)
For just £1 I am able to purchase both a flameless meal heater AND one of these meal pouches. This is an incredible opportunity and never in the time I have been helping refugees have I been able to see this much good come from a single pound! The refugee may not have eaten for days - and may not have enjoyed a hot meal for considerably longer.
There are 50 cartons of halal certified meals available to me at this price - a total of 10000 meals. I would love to be able to raise that £10000 and send them off with the guys on this trip. It really is a realistic option in terms of cost and the benefits it can bring to others. The psychological benefits of a hot meal can be tremendous - giving people that feeling of hope when they are at their lowest point and providing the motivation to continue on their journey. These items are incredibly lightweight and can be carried away and eaten at a time and place that suits the individual.
We are also working on having the instructions translated and printed onto stickers to aid the recipients.
If you have read as far as this then you probably already know who I am and what I do. I feel that my proven track record and integrity will allow you to donate with confidence and know that I only ever spend donated funds on the things I say I will and that I would never breach your trust or abuse your kindness.
If you are reading this and you don't know me then it's not hard to verify who I am and what I have achieved to date - ask anyone in the refugee aid circle and I'm pretty sure they can vouch for me - if not under my real name then my old pseudonym of 'Calais Goodguy'
Thanks everyone - I very much value your support!