In February 2023, we at Wave served 1857 hot meals, welcomed 84 new arrivals, distributed 967 clothing items, 37 sleeping bags and 723 hygiene items, ran 135 showers, charged 296 phones and powerbanks, and washed 109 loads of laundry.
February was an unusually warm month with temperatures reaching 20 degrees some days. Although we welcomed fewer new arrivals at our centre than in previous months, we were still busy distributing hot meals and non-food items.
At the beginning of the month, devastating earthquakes struck Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan killing thousands and displacing potentially millions more. The regions affected have already faced years of war and displacement, which will only be exacerbated further by the earthquakes. Our thoughts and solidarity are with those who have been impacted by this disaster and we hope the international community will continue to support local organisations on the ground in providing relief and aid.
Supporting people detained
Since 2020, we have been supporting people detained in Xanthi and Paranesti PRDCs with basic clothing, hygiene items, coffee and chocolate, which people tell us are inadequately supplied. We are the only organisation in Northern Greece sending material aid to people detained in PRDCs and we’ve noticed an increase in requests for support. This month, we sent packages to over 40 people. The rise of people reaching out is indicative of Europe’s arbitrary practice of detention of people-on-the-move. Many newcomers to our centre are fearful of being apprehended by authorities due to the very real risk of detention if caught without documents.
Some familiar faces and new
This month, we had quite a few visitors! We were delighted to welcome back our co-founder Hope for a week, alongside former coordinators Imogen and Nele who all kindly helped out at the centre and cooked some popular traditional dishes!
Long-term supporters of our project Three Peas also paid us a visit this month. Three Peas have been consistently supporting us since 2019 and we had the opportunity to host them at our revamped community centre and show our expanded services. Last November they sent us emergency funding when we were struggling to keep up with the demand for sleeping bags. We’re so thankful for the cooperation and commitment of Three Peas.
With a van packed full of NFIs, Stichting Hulp Karavaan also paid us a visit and generously donated some much-needed male clothing, jackets, hats and scarves. After contacting them last month to see if they could support us, they were quick to respond and deliver material supplies. We rely on donations and even once-off contributions help us support our community. Hartelijk bedankt Stichting Hulp Karavaan.
After participating in the Universal Plate Challenge last year, a campaign to raise awareness of growing food insecurity, we were onboarded as a member of the Social Gastronomy Movement. SGM is a network of local communities worldwide that believe in the power of food to create social change. Although our project was founded to cater for the city’s homeless population, with a focus on people-on-the-move, central to our ethos is that everyone is deserving of a warm nutritious meal, regardless of their background. Sharing meals together helps us foster community. We look forward to participating in and learning from other projects in the network!
At our centre, we serve high-quality meals and this month tested some new dishes, such as shrimp dumplings, sweet apple doughnuts, and cauliflower schnitzel alongside serving some traditional popular dishes like Kabsa and Mujaddara.
In the lead-up to Ramadan, a 30-day period of fasting whereby Muslims abstain from all food and drink every day from dawn until sunset, we launched a fundraiser to raise funds for this special month. We aim to raise €1000 so we can purchase costly ingredients such as dates, yoghurt drinks, meat and chicken to cook special meals, soups and desserts with our community. This year is significantly important as it is the first time since 2019 that we can host people indoors and celebrate communally! We plan to offer our storage room as a prayer room and some of our community members will facilitate a cultural training for our volunteers.