Monday, 7 September 2015

CalAid: Hundreds descend on social centre in Dalston to donate goods for Calais refugees | London | News | London Evening Standard @hivedalston #hivedalston #peoplepower #grassroots #action

CalAid: Hundreds descend on social centre in Dalston to donate goods for Calais refugees | London | News | London Evening Standard

Hundreds of generous Londoners have descended on a social centre in east London to donate clothes, blankets, tents and food for refugees in Calais.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was today spotted volunteering at the CalAid project at Dalston’s The Hive, while donations were also being collected in Herne Hill, south-east London.
The “Dalston Drop” was organised to help migrants who have fled their war-torn homes in the middle-east and set up camp in Calais.
Ms Bennett said she was overwhelmed at the outpouring of support she had seen.
Meanwhile organisers were today appealing for a large storage centre nearby where they could keep the donations temporarily.
“Our amazing volunteers are doing us proud,” organisers tweeted this afternoon. “We need more of them, and also a large storage in Dalston.
“Amazing compassion arriving in the form of donations at the CalAid Dalston drop. This is what grassroots, self organised community action for refugees looks like!”
Those who had donated goods took to social media to encourage others to do the same.
Catherine Willis ‏(@cat_willis) tweeted: “God bless you Britain – the queues of donators at #CalAid Dalston moved me to tears.”
Islington councillor James Murray, who dropped by to donate some goods, told the Standard: "We've just collected a car load of stuff from friends in Islington. I think we're all looking for ways to help.
"What CalAid set up was very clear about what they needed and where the drop-off point was, and it was very well organised. You feel you are helping in some way."
Volunteer Martine Parry said: “This is a very British thing – since Make Poverty History when everybody got fed up seeing the pictures of starving babies and decided to do something about it.
“This appeal is playing into the British sense of fair play - or unfair play.
“People here are making a difference.”
CalAid, set up by documentary maker Jaz O'Hara, describes itself as “a group of volunteers collecting urgently needed donations for those living in the Calais refugee camps”.
Its website states: “We believe that no person should be without access to basic human rights like shelter and warmth, and by collecting donations we can work to improve these conditions.
“The situation in Calais is part of a wider migration crisis in Europe - caused largely by the displacement of people from war-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea. In addition to offering support and assistance, we hope to change the perception of this crisis from one of hostility and fear to one of concern and compassion.”
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 people have offered to house refugees in their own homes.
Cambridge-based doctor Zoe Fritz has set up an online database of people willing to give a bed to those fleeing conflict and persecution.
Dr Fritz, 39, said members of her own family had fled the pogroms against the Jewish people in Ukraine and Belarus a century ago, while others found sanctuary in the UK as part of the Kindertransport programme to evacuate children from Nazi Germany.
She said: “My heart has sung at the things people have written. It has been extraordinary the generosity people have had.”

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