St Albans volunteers head on mercy mission to refugee camps

Thousands of donations have been received by refugees and people displaced in the Middle East

Thousands of donations have been received by refugees and people displaced in the Middle East

Archant

Refugee charities united recently after a crisis in Calais and Athens prompted a call for new donations.

Thousands of donations have been received by refugees and people displaced in the Middle EastThousands of donations have been received by refugees and people displaced in the Middle East

On May 26 a large fire in the Calais refugee camp caused the loss of 500 shelters as well as sleeping equipment and clothes.

St Albans For Refugees (StAR) has raised thousands and brought over food and clothes donations to Calais and Dunkirk on numerous occasions.

They held a fundraising dinner on May 15, raising nearly £750, and intended to make another trip later this year.

Liz Needham, trustee at StAR, said that they were saving the current funds for a food run. She added: “The plans had to take a back seat, however.”

The local charity spent £1,200 to purchase 60 sleeping bags which were delivered directly to the warehouse in Calais.

They then worked together with local church Vineyard St Albans and charity Herts for Refugees, to transport three family tents and car loads of donated clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to the camp over the bank holiday weekend.

StAR has also been working with Don’t Hate, Donate, which deliver items to Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda and on Bank Htoliday Monday (30) StAR volunteers went to Portsmouth with two car loads of women’s and children’s summer clothing, nappies, a baby cot and about 100 knitted teddy bears donated by a knitting group.

On the same weekend StAR received an urgent request from an associate in Athens, who is caring for 400 refugees, including 150 children.

Their associate had completely run out of food and asked for an emergency grant; StAR made £500 available to them immediately.

Liz said: “In total, StAR spent £2,380 over the bank holiday. This has meant that there are very little resources available for us to continue with our work.

“StAR and the people of St Albans itself are held in high regard by the volunteers in Calais and by other aid organisations, partly due to our ability to make aid immediately and directly available where it is needed.

“If you can help us in any way, by donating time, money or goods, please get in contact.”

StAR can be contacted via their website and via their Facebook page ‘St Albans For Refugees’.

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