Sharon De Wit: January 2018
Jim and I will be travelling to Northern France again to take goods and to provide aid for the refugees at the end of January. Thanks to the generosity of the people in the dales we were able to purchase and take many items that the refugees desperately needed.
Since our last visit in October/November 2016 conditions have deteriorated further for the refugees. The eviction of the camp at Calais has left thousands of people with, at best a tent for shelter, but all too often with no shelter at all from the winter weather.
Many people enjoyed the photo I took when we participated in a 'Sudanese style' meal at Norrent Fontes camp. Very sadly this camp was also destroyed by the police in September leaving refugees having to face the winter in tents rather than in their former chip board dwellings.
The intolerably harsh conditions for refugees living on the streets of Paris has not improved either.
The most urgently needed items are:
Small tents, pop up tents, sleeping bags and blankets.
We particularly wish to provide:
Men's thermal underwear, tops and long johns sizes small and medium.
Ladies thermal leggings, sizes small and medium.
We will also be taking:
Men's waterproof coats and trousers, warm jogging trousers, hoodies and all warm tops. Sizes small and medium.
Men's sturdy shoes.
Men's new boxer shorts, size small and medium. Socks.
Men's and women's warm hats, scarves and gloves.
Toiletries; women's and particularly men's spray deodorants.
Toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Skin moisturisers and lip salve.
Men's razors and shaving gel.
Packets of nuts (especially salted pistachios). The refugees love these healthy snacks and they are expensive to buy in France.
All money donations, however small, will be gratefully received, I am planning mainly to purchase thermal underwear which is so greatly needed to keep warm whilst living outdoors in the winter. I always keep receipts of any money spent and provide an account of expenditure.
The demand for women's and children's clothing etc in Northern France is generally met, but men's items are always urgently needed. Most of the men are aged between 16 and 35 years. If you have already given us women's clothing, thank you so much, and we will be taking it, but due to limited space in our campervan it is better that we fill the remaining space with the above mentioned items.
If it comes to my attention that any other items are urgently needed I will let you know.
All goods can be delivered to us, however, we live a good distance up the Dale so two churches have kindly offered to act as collection points for refugee donations in Swaledale, they are Holy Trinity at Low Row and St Andrews at Grinton. Goods may be left in a box which is beneath a table as you enter Holy Trinity and behind the reception table in St Andrews.
I will need to receive any donations by the 25th January,
Please feel free to ring or email me.
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Dove Cottage, Leyburn