St Albans donations for Syrian refugees arrive in Calais

Refugees queueing for supplies from an Emmaus van.

Refugees queueing for supplies from an Emmaus van. - Credit: Archant

Following an outpouring of generosity from the people of St Albans, a campaign in the Herts Advertiser and a visit from an MEP, the first wave of donations for Syrian refugees has landed in Calais.

Asim Khawaja, a volunteer from StAlbansForRefugees, tagged along with the homelessness charity, Emmaus, on Sunday with a people-carrier full of clothes, shoes and camping equipment.

He said: “It was an experience, let me put it that way. You don’t really know what to expect, it’s all an unknown. But I didn’t expect what I saw - they’ve built a mini city.

“They’ve made shacks and shops and stalls - they’ve very resourceful. It can get a bit rowdy because they’re desperate people in desperate measures.

“I imagine that in the winter when it starts to rain and snow, it’s going to get pretty grim. It’s going to be unbearable for them.”

Asim added that cooking the cooking equipment – pots and pans donated by the scouts group – went down especially well.

Meanwhile, at a StAlbansForRefugees meeting this week, volunteers decided to make sorting through donations a priority, in preparation for the group’s official trip to Calais.

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They also unanimously agreed that it should become a registered charity, and should begin offering support to any refugees moving to St Albans.

StAlbansForRefugees are now seeking volunteers to help sort through the mountain of donations, before making the trip over the Channel later this month or in early November.

To get in touch with the group or to keep abreast of its latest news, click here.