Winter 2016/2017: Winter Kids Packs
Over the winter of 2016/2017 we worked with several other grass-roots refugee groups to put together winter clothing packs for children. These included a coat, jumper, hat, gloves, scarf, new underwear, top, trousers and anything else we had dontate that was useful. While extremely time consuming, people were very generous with their time and donated enough items, money and help for us to make up hudnreds of these packs.
Originally intended to be bound for Lebannon, unfortunately just as we were ready to send, an embargo prevented any aid getting through, so these items were redirected to Syria to make sure that hundreds of children forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing war there could be warm, and have something nice. Thank you so much to everyone who helped out on this campaign!
August 2016: EMergency Aid - Container to Syria
In July 2016, following numerous calls for emergency food and medical aid in Syria, we decided to have a huge collection and fundraising drive to send a container, in association with charity Muslims in Need, to Syria.
The ever generous folk of Leicester donated medical items, wheelchairs, food by the car load and other useful items requested.
Companies offered us medical aid in bulk. Funds were raised by individuals and through a crowd funder and pallet loads of food, baby food and nappies were purchased.
Following a manic month of collecting by individuals and groups across Leicestershire the day came to load the container.
Volunteers including our local refugee friends spent three hours sweating away in the heat to load the container. But it was so, so worth it.
To see videos of our items being handed out to families in Syria a little over a month later was incredible. A group of lovely folk in Leicestershire cared enough to achieve something amazing. And every single person who donated funds, items and especially time is a hero!
For a report on the loading of the container from Friends of Refugees - Bedfordshire (who donated a massive £3000 to buy pallet loads of items for the container!) click here.
To see video of our items being handed out, click here.
October 2016: Sleeping Bags for Refugees in France
In October 2016 a chance posting by a volunteer on a refugee action page led to the discovery of a huge amount of good quality warm sleeping bags being made available at a phenomenally cheap £3.50 a bag. Contact was made with the seller and a deal was brokered to get more for even less, and we had to jump on this opportunity knowing how desperate refugees in France were for sleeping bags, especially with the fear of the iminent Calais eviction.
A fundraising call was put out on our facebook page and within 48 hours enough money was raised to purchase 500 sleeping bags and 120 sleeping mats, which were transported the following week by LE Solidarity volunteers to the Care 4 Calais warehouse.
In the following weeks, images of refugees sleeping rough, exposed to the elements emerged. And there we could see our sleeping bags, the only thing keeping these poor souls any hint of warmth. It was heartening to know that our items were doing good, but distressing to have the impact of this crisis that is occuring so close to home made so very, very clear.