Formerly the clothes distribution point, now the supermarket. We had been opening twice a week; on a Tuesday and a Thursday, offering a consistent supply of goods for free, some are offered on a "take as much as you need" basis while others are given out respective of members in the family. We offer extra food items high in protein for pregnant and nursing mothers. Things are always changing as we adapt to fit the needs, there is a core list of essentials that we always offer - the milk, the yoghurt, eggs etc however the other items are always subject to change. Whether this is down to collaboration with the residents to provide something new, or a big shipment of something we had not had in the past.
The residents have a timeslot which is organised by building on each supermarket day and the entire camp is served in one day. They bring a shopping bag distributed by Bridge2 which is then filled with the goods on offer for that particular day from fresh food, to tinned food, vegetable oil, yoghurt & milk, hygiene items and other products that we can offer as and when they are available.
These are all vital items for the wellbeing of the people on the camp, through nutrition and comfort of everyday items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.
We rely on funding to make this happen, and have thus far we've been supported enormously by Refugees Foundation, e.V. Support for Refugees on the Run, Help Refugees and Donate4Refugees. We also extend a big thank you to all those who have made ad hoc donations and for each and every volunteer for helping run the shop, some of which have also brought funds to help things along.
Update: We now open the shop once a week as the various agencies in Greece have worked to provide cash sums to each resident, therefore we have scaled down appropriately.
We have three suppliers for the supermarket generally - a Grocer for the fruit and veg, a Wholesaler for the milk and yoghurt etc and one for fresh local eggs. For example we offer Mouloukhia on a bi-weekly basis which is shipped in from Lebanon. Or we will offer honey which is locally sourced. This can take some planning both financially and logistically!
It takes a lot to run the supermarket. Each week we need to do a stock check and supplies order for the essential items. It all needs to be loaded in and the shop stocked up. That's the easy part.
Behind the supermarket we have our store. It's where we keep all our food items, but also where we prepare items for the shop. Everything offered to the residents is offered on a fair basis, but this sometimes means we need prepare a half litre of vegetable oil, or bag up coffee into 200g packs. This is time consuming, it takes patience and many hands.
We also organise additional distributions - sometimes we have left over items, maybe an unexpected donation/delivery of fruit and veg or there is an occasional like Ramadan.
Sometimes we turn the supermarket into a toystore too!
Below is how the supermarket looked when we arrived on camp!