Help Refugees is an organisation with minimal overheads and maximum impact: it all started as nothing more than a hashtag in August 2015. A group of friends wanted to raise £1,000 and fill a van full of donations to take down to Calais. Within a week, they had raised £56,000. They were soon receiving 7,000 items every day.

Fast forward four years and they now support over 100 projects across Europe, the Middle East and on the US-Mexico border. They take a fieldwork-first approach to aid, establishing local networks and working with local partners to deliver projects. Their work has now reached around one million people – all powered by the hard work, dedication and love of over 30,000 volunteers.

Help Refugees run the biggest aid operation in Northern France. They estimate that almost 2,000 people are living in forests, parks or on the streets in Northern France. 1,300 people are living in Dunkirk without shelter (predominantly parks and streets) and likewise in Calais, around 500 people are sleeping in the forests. Help Refugees distributes thousands of items every week, from blankets, sleeping bags, hygiene kits, clothing and footwear. In addition, they organise a very large food and firewood distribution operation.

Would you like to do something extraordinary for Christmas? Choose Love is the world’s first store, set up by Help Refugees, where you can buy real gifts for refugees, contains practical items like tents, nappies and sleeping bags. But instead of taking them home, each purchase buys an item for someone who truly needs it. For more information and to visit their online store click here!

At the beginning of this year, Emmaus Lambeth and Surrey became a designated drop-off point for Help Refugees at our shops in Brixton, West Norwood, Wallington, Purley and Caterham. For details of what donations are currently needed, please click on the Help Refugees link below:

Please clearly mark any donations “Help Refugees Calais” when dropping them off at our shops!

We are currently making a day trip to Calais with these collected donations each month, using one of the vans from our fleet. Our last monthly trip in November went very well; our van was packed full of donations and we also had some time to volunteer in the warehouse, sorting out sleeping bags. A three-day volunteer trip has been scheduled for mid-December. Watch our website for updates!