In her humble, hidden-away garage in south London, armed only with her incredible dedication and love, Lena has changed thousands of refugees’ lives.
For almost five years now she’s been a Care4Calais collection point, one of a quiet, caring army of volunteers who look after people’s donations before sending them on to our warehouse. In fact she’s one of our longest-serving points, and Lena’s Garage is a Care4Calais legend!
“A kind, caring and totally reliable star,” one of our warehouse volunteers calls her. “Always there when she says she’ll be there, which means people trust her, and want to help more and more. She never tries to take any credit, but she’ll find ways to fit things in when she’s full, she’ll help to loads the vans collecting her loads, and of course she’s been out to Calais as a volunteer as well.”
Lena, an economist working in public policy, first volunteered in Calais in 2016, teaching in the old jungle. She knew how badly donations were needed there, so when she found herself with access to a spare room in London a few years ago, she registered as a collection point. It means that donors can find her on our map, check what’s needed, and contact her to arrange a drop off.
She stores the donations until he has a vanful, then calls one of our volunteer drivers to arrange a pick up. From the warehouse, the donations are sent out to help refugees in France and the UK.
“It makes me feel a part of a community,” Lena told is, in between taking calls from people responding to our tents appeal. “Not just my local community, but also the Care4Calais community, and a community of individuals passionate about helping refugees.
“The number of people wanting to drop off varies, but they’re always willing to fit in with your schedule.
“It gives you a lot of energy because people are so kind. One lady came back after dropping off to help me load the van. One boy bought me a box of chocolates! People always thank me, but I say, ‘it’s you who deserves the thanks for giving.'”
We always need more kind people to be collection points – it doesn’t matter how much space you have. If could be part of this amazing caring army, please go to bit.ly/C4Ccollectionpoint