Warehouse Dispatches

24th October 2015

posted 24 Oct 2015, 12:41 by Chris Cox   [ updated 24 Oct 2015, 12:43 ]

I haven't posted for a few days as I have been busy in the Camp looking at possible better ways to distribute aid to ensure we get to those in need. 

I am, however, going to have a minor rant (well I have not had one before).  It concerns those coming over with the intention of distributing in the camp by themselves. 

This is not a good idea because it is difficult for newcomers to know what is needed where. If everything is not completely sorted ready for distribution, it can cause big problems with the refugees not understanding what is happening. 

What happens in the end is that most of it goes to waste as it might well not be is wanted.   The biggest crime though is committed when those that are unable to distribute all the goods end up dumping it!   That is a complete waste.

Here is a photo I took this evening where the occupants of one van had just dumped the contents. 

What this does is 
1. Create a terrible waste
2. Turn the refugees into scavengers that does nothing for their dignity.
3. Give sections of the press the perfect picture to show over-supply or ungrateful refugees

In all these scenarios the only people that get harmed are the very people we are trying to help: the Refugees

I urge everyone to please make contact with the people here on the ground that are here to help. hat way we all serve the refugees better.   Let's just be one big team

20th October

posted 20 Oct 2015, 10:49 by Chris Cox   [ updated 20 Oct 2015, 10:55 ]

 It is going to look like we have not done much again, but as we only have 4 days left to move warehouse it is at present our main priority.

 Sarah Gayton has now set up her sorting area in the new warehouse and is in full production.

In the current warehouse we have continued to put sorted product on pallets and if you look at the pic below you will see why I keep going on about new cartons!

One rack has now been taken down and moved to new warehouse and the next rack has been cleared ready to move.
Please remember we are working with no forklift truck so it involves volunteers climbing ladders!!! 

Anyway while all this was going on we managed to distribute 300 pairs of shoes with a pair of socks in each shoe. This has cleared us out of shoes except what we keep back for shoeless new arrivals.  We also distributed about 100 sleeping bags and 100 blankets which, like shoes,  I now only have left what I need for new arrivals. Finally, we sorted about 400 coats for distribution tomorrow. 

For future reference: as you might know, the best way to cheer me up is to provide me with CARTONS.   I  have found a company in France where you can buy ťhem online 

Here are the details 


You then need to search for the following: Casse Carton Simple Cannelure Plus

The size nearest to what I want is 65 x 50 x 45 cm

They deliver in 24 hours

For reasons of security I can not put the delivery address in the public domain but if you message me on FB I will get it to you.  Please let me know the quantity you plan on ordering so I can track how many I have coming. 

 I.need loads but knowing how generous you all are,  I could end up in the carton box storage business!!

19th October

posted 19 Oct 2015, 11:52 by Chris Cox   [ updated 19 Oct 2015, 11:52 ]

I've just realised why these reports are good for me-  I now know what day of the week it is.  For the last month I have completely lost track of time. 

Today I personally spent about 4 hours in the Camp meeting the volunteers on the ground and trying to find out how we can make life easier for them - especially people like Toby who deal with new arrivals. I was to say the least shocked when I actually saw the conditions they are working under and I have some ideas I am going to work on. I am now also going to work on a plan to try and get Gas Distribution more organised.  Doing logistics in the real world is difficult enough when it involves collecting empties - in the Camp it is going to be a real challenge but then most days out here are a challenge. 

In the bad old days when I worked for a living I used to bore my staff by saying "problems were invented for the sole proposal of being solved" and wow that applies out here.  But it is made so much easier with a great bunch of volunteers with so many different skills.

Monday in the ware house is always women and children day so Liz and her team were able to find the products to satisfy that very important group.   We did a small distribution of waterproof coats. Sarah Gayton and her fantastic team were able to sort shoes for a mass distribution tomorrow, Sarah is an amazing person on that sorting and never ever panics. 

We continue to prepare for the move to the new warehouse. 

We had a great delivery of much wanted clothes and blankets etc. today from Help Calais all on pallets so we were able to deliver straight to new warehouse where we now have a real modern invention known as a Fork Lift Truck!!! 

I am off to have dinner with Renke Pieter Meuwese 

thanks everyone I can see a light somewhere

18th October

posted 18 Oct 2015, 18:36 by Chris Cox

Good evening everyone. 
Celebration!  It did not rain today.

 I am going to struggle to make the activity report for today  sound interesting, especially after the tremendous activity of yesterday. 

Firstly the distribution was 300 sleeping bags, 300 blankets, a lot of bottled water and about 400 food bags. 

However the day has been very busy even before this as  I had to pull most of the volunteers into the warehouse to get it back to being fit for purpose but more importantly we have only 6 days left until we have to vacate the warehouse. It is at about 90% capacity based on present conditions such as boxes all being different sizes and because we have started pulling down the racking. 

Everyone worked very very hard doing the rather boring stuff that needs to be done when moving - like getting everything on pallets ready to move. 

Anton has done a great job at the new warehouse to ensure we have electricity. Sylvan has done a great job cleaning the new warehouse with a very hard working team of volunteers (who said we can't make volunteering fun?)

Sorry this report is not more exciting but it has been a very busy day. 

Please appreciate unless we get the warehouse right we can deliver very little to the camp

17th October: Another Busy Saturday

posted 17 Oct 2015, 12:49 by Chris Cox   [ updated 17 Oct 2015, 12:50 ]

Just a few of the vehicles waiting to drop off goods!

Volunteers sorting outside the warehouse ready for distribution

Hi everyone from a very wet Calais. 

 I will  start by saying that I have been humbled and honoured to work with a group of people that are absolutely amazing. It does not matter what is thrown at them they cope under very stressful circumstances.  There are too many of them to name but they know who they are - guys you are amazing. 

The day started very slowly (that should have been a sign of things to come) Clare Moseley started the day by doing a distribution of 700 food parcels with her amazing team in the pouring rain. They also distributed 700 bottles of cooking oil.

 Sarah Gayton and her fantastic team continued sorting clothes.

Then it happened...  all the delayed ferries arrived at once and suddenly we had about 15 vans arrive with vital supplies.

 Everyone got stuck in and unloaded them. The result was we were able to distribute 700 sleeping bags, 500 blankets, and a further 650 food bags containing at least 10 items per bag. 

Then the next ferries arrived and I lost count but I am sure at one time we had 20 vans waiting to unload. From these vans we were able to distribute a further 500 sleeping bags and 400 blankets and yes ... another 300 food bags. 

You just can not imagine the pressure the volunteers were under as while all this was going on they must have unloaded 800 bags of clothes a further 300 sleeping bags and loads more stuff. In my many years in warehousing I have never seen a team of people work so hard under such difficult circumstances; I can not sign their praise enough. 

As I write, the warehouse looks full - but I know by lunchtime tomorrow we will have it sorted and made space.

 I will however ask anyone coming over tomorrow to bear with us as it will take a few hours for us to be able to unload any vehicles.

 I apologise. I just hope from reading this post people will realise what a great team we have here and fantastic volunteers.

So to sum up we have had a very very busy day but the end result is we have had a record breaking day for distribution to the camp as I have not included the normal day to day stuff we have distributed as my fat thumb is worn out!

16th October

posted 17 Oct 2015, 12:32 by Chris Cox   [ updated 17 Oct 2015, 12:35 ]

 It has been raining all day meaning distribution becomes harder. 

We have distributed 700 nice warm brand new hoodies; about 200 sleeping bags (would have been more but short of sleeping bags); about 200 thick jumpers; lots and lots of hats and scarves no gloves as we have none left. 

Sarah Gayton has made a very welcome return so sorting has doubled; she is so amazing the way she has that most important section working.  Without proper sorting it is impossible to do meaningful mass distribution.

We have also managed to supply the growing camp in Dunkirk with tents, some shoes, sleeping bags and warm jumpers.

While all this is going on the warehouse is being organised ready for the move and this is going to be easier thanks to the amazing work by Renke. 

I continue to walk round pretending I know what I am doing and letting out the odd grump.

Still need gloves,blankets, waterproof clothes, ponchos. trainers and CARTOONS

15th October

posted 17 Oct 2015, 12:25 by Chris Cox   [ updated 17 Oct 2015, 12:28 ]

Good morning everyone. I will however start by thanking everyone for their Birthday wishes; I feel humbled but I can not stress enough my contribution is very, very small compared to the volunteers that actually do the work - they are all amazing fantastic people. 

The main distribution yesterday was men's trousers- we distributed about 500 pairs. The problem we have is a shortage of small sizes 26, 28 and 30 I appreciate the reason is simply the fact that in the UK we are built differently -  but these sizes are very much needed. 

Our other big distribution was hats, scarves and gloves as  the weather here is now turning very cold.   The main shortage here now is gloves - we have just a few left. 

We managed to distribute about 100 warm blankets but again we have a shortage and as we hit the real cold months these will be more in demand. 

While all this is going on we are also trying to prepare for the move to the new warehouse. 

Please remember if you are coming over we will always need warm clothing. We are short of warm waterproof coats but do have quite a lot of non waterproof coats so we would like to distribute these with waterproof ponchos ... so lots of ponchos please.

Things change very quickly here.  I only report on the warehouse and am not involved in the fantastic building work that is going on so please also check on that.

Thank you all for your amazing support I am cheered everyday in my old age to know there are so many truly caring people

14th October

posted 14 Oct 2015, 13:04 by Chris Cox   [ updated 14 Oct 2015, 13:16 ]

Hi everyone with the first of my daily reports. 

Today and last night has been very wet and it's getting colder. 

Our main distribution today was warm waterproof coats - about 400 of them all sorted by size. Quite a lot of day to day stuff like Paracetamol. Tents and blankets for about 150 new arrivals more expected in next few days. 
Been a bit short of volunteers today - quite normal mid week. 

We have managed to sort 500 pairs of trousers for distribution first thing in morning - sorted by size so we ensure the Refugees look
the business in their trousers.   We wer
e lucky enough to have about 250 pairs of brand spanking new Jeans. We are also hoping we have enough blankets to distribute tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your help and amazing generosity.

The volunteers always come back and tell me about the big smiles on the faces of the Refugees as they hand them the goods. The other thing the volunteers deliver is hope and sometimes that is the best commodity.

13th October

posted 14 Oct 2015, 12:55 by Chris Cox   [ updated 14 Oct 2015, 12:56 ]

Good morning from Calais, on a very wet and cold morning.


I thought that maybe I should introduce myself. I am John and I have been in Calais for nearly one month and will be staying for another 3. I have a 30 year background in Warehousing and Logistics and with the amazing help of the fantastic volunteers I am trying to make the Calais Warehouse an operation that can best serve the needs of the Refugees. 

As you can imagine it is not the easiest job due simply to the daily changing operational requirements but we are putting systems into place that will mean we become far more professional and hopefully will be able to also offer a better service to those great people that come out here with the most amazing donations. I am hoping that by the end of this month to hit a target of 5 days from arrival of donations to distribution into the Camp. I am sure that people respect the inherent problems with any operation that relies 100% on volunteers who not only work an average of 10 - 12 hours a day but do so completely at their own expense.  This means the average period for 1 volunteer is 3 days so just as they become used to the systems and the way things happen they run out of money for accommodation and have to go home. (I am not complaining)

In 12 days time we are moving into a new warehouse about one third bigger than the one we operate from now. This is going to be a great opportunity to lay the warehouse out better to control the flow of goods moving round the warehouse. 

As you might see from the pictures one of my biggest problems is Cardboard Boxes (Cartons) as currently I am working mainly with old recycled boxes and this is a real space waster and sometimes a bit dangerous as these cartons can fall off. So now I come to the appeal part of this post. I urgently require new boxes that come in the form of Flat Pack Cartons. I am trying to standardise the warehouse on 2 sizes

60 x 40 x 32.5 cm
90 x 60 x 48 cm

This will make the job 10 times easier for the sorters, distributors and for the people working in the warehouse. So maybe anyone coming over with some spare cash might like to invest some into these cartons. We can get at least 5 round trip distributions from each good quality carton.

Please feel free to message me, John Sloan on FB with any questions but please be patient regarding replies.  I try and do them as quickly as possible but at times signal is a big problem and from 8am to 7pm,  I am fairly busy with the operations in the warehouse. 

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