Watching desperate scenes on television of refugees fleeing their home countries in terror was enough to compel two Derry friends to take action.
Paul Devlin from Limavady and Jackie Woods from Derry - who both live in London - are driving to Calais this weekend with a van filled with essential supplies they hope will make life better for some of the refugees in the Calais camp.
“Both of us find it so painful to see the desperate needs of refugees fleeing horrendous situations in their home countries.
“We could not stand by and do nothing,” said Jackie.
Paul and Jackie became involved with the charity, CalAid, a grassroots charitable organisation supporting displaced persons, migrants and refugees in need, regardless of their legal status.
“We asked friends, neighbours and family for donations to fill my camper van with urgently required clothes and food for the refugees in Calais,” said Jackie, who explained they have been overwhelmed with donations including clothes, food and essential hygiene products.
“We have had over £800 in donations, which we used to buy high-quality second hand clothes from a homeless charity thereby doubling the value of the donation by supporting homeless people in London and the refugees,” explained Jackie.
All donations are going directly to the most needy in Calais while financial donations will be used to buy a urgently needed items, including clothing and essential foods.
Once Jackie and Paul reach Calais, they will take the donations directly to a distribution warehouse.
“From there volunteers will bag up survival bags of clothes, sanitary products and food.
“They then ensure these are distributed fairly to refugees at the camp,” said Jackie, who hopes people at home to help.
“Just do something. Canvas politicians, sign relevant petitions and donate money and clothes to the refugees.”
To donate, go online to www.leisurefayre.com/section.p…/86100/1/help_refugees “where you can buy large tents, sleeping bags and blankets and get them delivered directly to the Calais warehouse,” said Jackie.
“This will send urgent items directly to Calais.
“There is an Amazon wish list which ensures urgent items are sent directly to the refugee camps. Also, donate to CalAid (www.calaid.co.uk) or contact one of CalAid’s partners, Care4Calais, http://care4calais.org/volunteer/”