Lagkadikia, a camp near Thessaloniki, has approximately 230 residents, but lacks many of the basic services; no clothing, no hygiene items, no healthy food. It is located on a former military site, fenced with barbwire.
No NGOs are currently able to work within the camp, so there is no place to set up a Drop Shop. With winter coming, and a need for winter clothes in this camp, our solution was to create a pop-up open air market on the road, just outside of the camp.
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our volunteers from the Nea Kavala camp, we provided the residents of Lagkadikia with a jacket, trousers, jumpers, underwear, gloves, scarves, and toys, along with food and hygiene packs.
In the weeks leading up to the distribution, careful planning was crucial. From confirming the amount of items needed, designing the set up of the ‘shop’, to developing a simple and effective check in, check out, and shopping process. No matter how much preparation was made, we knew to be ready for the unexpected. The most important thing we all agreed on was to work with a smile!
After long days of sorting and packing all of the items (which barely fit into the van and four car convoy!), it took only half an hour after opening for us to fine tune our methods. The two day distribution was completed without any incidences at all! In total we provided winter clothing, food, and hygiene items to 197 men, women, and children.
This is testament to the work of A Drop in the Ocean: we are flexible and pragmatic enough to dare to start a project like this, yet professional and able enough to fulfil the task. We provided much needed items that will help to make a difficult situation just a little bit more bearable, but more importantly, we provided many smiles to the residents of Lagkadikia.
Text: Bart Driessen / Photos: Stephen Dover