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Calais Food Collective

Calais Food Collective

Calais Food Collective is a grassroots collective supporting displaced people in Calais by advocating for food and water autonomy. We are a political association which contests the negligence and violence of the border regime at the France-UK border.  We operate as a mobile distribution, bringing the food directly to living sites to allow people access to our service without having to shape their day around it. We distribute four days a week across different sites in Calais, reaching approximately 1000 people. We also operate water points across living sites where people can access water freely.


We are a non-hierarchical organisation with solidarity as a central value  to our work. We actively try to lessen the power dynamic between volunteers and people on the move, including through our distribution model. The response to our service, alongside the relationships of trust and the routine we have established amongst communities, is why we plan to continue our services for as long as we are needed.

  • Where is it?

    We work in Calais, a city in Northern France


  • What will I be doing?

    We run as a collective, and operate in a non-hierarchical way so there are no managers or co-ordinators. Decisions are made collectively and all members are expected to participate in the coordination of our operations as well as our advocacy and activism. Generally, our volunteers tend to take on a wide variety of roles within the collective. They help with distributions including packing and sorting food in our warehouse and going out on mobile food distributions and waterdrops, which take place directly in living sites in Calais. 

    Everyone additionally takes on responsibility for different areas of work, such as finance, stock management, communication, and safeguarding. Volunteers are free to choose which areas they work on, and how they balance their different roles. It is however essential that volunteers are motivated to take on responsibility for the running of the collective and to be politically active.

  • What impact would I have?

    On a day to day level, our services support people on the move to access ingredients to cook for themselves and to access clean water. As a way to promote autonomy, we distribute in a manner that allows people this access without them having to schedule their days around distribution schedules, locations, or waiting times.

    As a volunteer with CFC you will be directly involved with both our daily operations as well as the overall responsibility for the collective. As a small team and a collective, any skills or interests individual volunteers offer are also welcomed.

  • Who will I be working with?

    We work in a team of around 8-12 full time members in the Collective. We also work with a range of other associations on the ground, including Utopia 56, Calais WoodYard, L’Auberge des Migrants and Human Rights Observers.

  • Minimum age


  • Accommodation

    We ask that volunteers fund their own accommodation for the first 2 weeks of their stay. We can recommend options for this which generally  range from 10-15 euro/night. After the first 2 weeks, volunteers are welcome to move into our volunteer flat as long as there is capacity. We live very communally and have shared rooms.

    If you require financial support to access volunteering, please let us know and we can discuss this on a case-by-case basis..

  • Extra Costs

    Some food costs - we usually have a basic vegetarian lunch provided where we work and often share some basic ingredients at home. Additional costs to consider include your first two weeks of self-accomodation, any travel insurance or travel document costs, and any day-to-day spending.

  • Skills required

    • Spoken Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Tigrinya, Amharic, Vietnamese, Kurdish (particularly Sorani)
    • Drivers
    • Dieticians
    • Finance
    • Stock/Logistics
    • Grant applications
    • Fundraising
    • Activism
    • Advocacy
  • Interested in volunteering?

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