TWENTY three pallets of goods are on their way to refugee camps across Europe thanks to the generosity of the public.
The items, including clothing, nappies, medication, pushchairs and blankets were gathered in by local charity CHILD. The organisation initially set a target of four pallets but following an appeal for assistance, they managed to collect that amount six times over.
The pallets have now been shipped to the headquarters of Care UK and will this week be delivered to thousands of refugees stranded in camps in Greece and elsewhere.
CHILD spokesperson Rita Wilson said the response to the appeal had been phenomenal.
“We can’t thank people enough,” said Ms Wilson.
“It is truly humbling to witness yet again the astounding generosity of the people of Strabane, Donegal and surrounding areas.
“The scale and volume of donations received meant that our original target of four pallets of aid was quickly surpassed and we have managed to send a staggering 23 pallets containing warm clothing, blankets, baby equipment, medical aid, nappies and other essential items instead.”
The pallets will be delivered to Lesbos in Greece, home to one of Europe’s largest refugee camps and where thousands of men, women and children are currently living in squalid conditions.
Rita Wilson said that given Ireland’s history, it was poignant that the people of this island were reaching out to help those displaced as a result of war, hunger and fear.
The volunteer charity worker added, “It would be impossible to thank everyone individually but we do owe a debt of gratitude to Aidan Crawford of Hands of Help and Nora Carlin of Care UK for their help and support with transportation.
“Also the Derry Square Knitters, Arran Day Centre, Letterkenny Islamic Association and Clare Ward and the Sligo ladies for the stunning hand-knitted blankets and baby clothes.
“A further thank you to the businesses who showed such generosity in providing sponsorship to cover the cost of loading and transportation, among them John Quigley, Grosvenor Shirt Factory, Pat Scullion of Ruby’s Night Club, Matthew Dillon at Modern Tyre Service, O’Neill’s Sportswear, Medicare and Conall from Countrywide Freight.
“We would also like to thank all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication, especially Geraldine and Paula who have dedicated six days a week of their time over the past two months to this project.
“It has been a busy period for CHILD and none of it could have happened without the help of the public. We will be eternally grateful,” Ms Wilson added.