Appeal for donations to help Afghan refugee families

It's OK To Say founder Stacey Turner with patron Bob Golding and the charity's mascot.

It's OK To Say founder Stacey Turner with patron Bob Golding and the charity's mascot. - Credit: IO2S

A desperate plea has gone out for donations of clothes, toiletries, toys and other goods for refugee families fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

St Albans mental health awareness charity It's OK To Say wants to help make a difference in this urgent and unfolding crisis by encouraging people to fill shoeboxes with vital supplies.

Founder and CEO Stacey Turner said: “This is a terribly heart breaking and distressing situation, these people have had to escape their home country, loved ones, and leave all possessions behind.

“While the government seeks to house more than 20,000 fleeing Afghanistan over the next five
years, Afghans need our help now!

"Your shoebox might be filled with toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, soap, cotton pads, deodorant, hand sanitiser, sanitary products, a hairbrush, hair ties, face cream, sun cream and body lotion.

"Think about the age range you are creating your box for and if you are popping in any samples, please ensure they are sealed, otherwise they will be sadly discarded.

"Do you have any jackets, scarves and gloves for the upcoming colder months? Leggings, T-shirts, sweaters, socks and pyjamas/nighties are ideal clothing donations.

“Along with donations, they will receive age-appropriate trauma support packs from us with each
child receiving a teddy bear. We are currently working around the clock to pull the packs together to have them translated.

"I can’t even begin to imagine the fear and trauma these poor people are suffering, and we hope that by offering comfort and reassurance, it will make a difference, even in a small way."

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If you would like to send a drawing or a card to accompany the teddy bears, donations, and support packs, please drop them or send to one of the drop-off points. If you are posting, please mark for the attention of It’s OK To Say.

Local transport companies have come forward to offer their support to transport donations and
support packs, and their details will be shared once the operation is underway.

"This means you can confidently make your donation at one of the drop off points and we will do the rest. We are in touch with other organisations who are at the forefront of this crisis to ensure we know exactly what is needed, sharing out the donations ensuring we are supporting as many as possible of all ages.”

Actor, legend and patron of It’s OK To Say, Bob Golding said: “If there was ever a time to help those in need, it’s now. As if the world wasn’t tough enough, these poor people need everything we can give.”

Stacey added: “All week we’ve had people contacting us with concerns of coping and questioning, how do I explain the situation to and support my children as the situation unfolds?

"How do I deal with the strong opinions that we shouldn’t be helping when I feel so ineffectual? In one way or another, we are all affected, and it can be quite triggering for many people.

"As always, It’s Ok To Say, but please remember we all respond differently based on personal experiences as well as many feeling fragile from the Covid pandemic."

Email if you would like to get involved or sponsor teddy bears.

The list of donation drop off points is growing rapidly, however here are four set up already in St Albans:

  • Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, 16 Abbey Mill Lane, AL3 4HE 
  • EYES on St Albans, 63 The Quadrant, AL4 9RD
  • Westminster Lodge, Hollywell Hill, AL1 2DL
  • Sopwell Community Trust, Unit 9, The Enterprise Centre, Long Spring, AL3 6EN