Volunteer fills van with winter clothes in 2 hours
It was so cold when I took my dog for a walk yesterday morning. Even with Timberland boots on my feet were still freezing. I thought back to the posts I had read about people in Calais struggling without warm shoes and winter clothes, and the immediacy of their situation suddenly hit home. I guess feeling the cold for yourself is the most powerful reminder of all.
When I got back I messaged my neighbourhood WhatsApp group, which we set up at the start of the pandemic to help people who were self-isolating. My question was simple: did anyone have warm winter clothes they could donate to help refugees sleeping rough in France?
That was at 10am. By 12pm, I had bags and bags of donations piled up at my front door. People dropped stuff off and then rang the doorbell so that I could safely come and collect. Within those two hours I had gathered enough bags to fill up a small van.
I didn’t know what to expect from carrying out a collection, but honestly – it could not have been easier. After just a simple message, people quickly came through with an unbelievable amount of thick knit jumpers, winter coats, hoodies, tracksuit bottoms and waterproof jackets.
It all happened so fast that I decided to pop by my local collection point during my lunch break. When I got back there were already more bags waiting for me at home, but the collection point is only a 10-minute drive away so I can just return tomorrow.
If you want to organise a collection or have clothes you could donate, the process is incredibly simple. Just do what I did: look at the list of priority items, message your friends and neighbours, then contact your local drop-off point to organise a donation. That’s it. If we all took the time to do this, we could make a world of difference together.
– written by Tanya Wilkinson, a London volunteer
To get involved go to care4calais.org/coats4calais