A LEE charity is having a major push to get two shipments of clothing to refugees from war torn Syria and is calling for more volunteer helpers.
GRACE (Greenwich Refugee Aid and Community Enterprise), based at the Leegate centre needs help to sort and pack a huge amount of donated clothing. The charity is working towards shipments with Hope and Aid Direct and Samara’s Aid which are due to depart this moth.
As now located in a large unit the charity is also looking at ways of expanding its work to benefit the community and other charities in the area. It is also seeking volunteers with experience to help run its fund raising shop and set up an online store.
Clare Papazidis, the charities chief executive told The Mercury “We have a major push on as we are working towards two big shipments this month. One is going to refugees in Greece where we are working with well established charities in the area who distribute the items. We are also contributing to one going to Serbia where lots of refugees are trapped following the border closures. The containers used to take the clothing in are later converted into medical centres. The Serbia convoy is going in Mid May so we have a big push on and looking for volunteers who could spend a bit of time helping to sort and pack donations “
She said: “We are particularly in need of men’s clothing in small and medium sizes as a lot of the refugees are teenage boys – whom we really want to help as they are so vulnerable.”
The mum-of-three, who is a teacher, said: “My husband is Greek and we have heard from family and friends over there about the terrible conditions and back stories of the refugees arriving there – its absolutely heart breaking. We just wanted to do something to help.
As well as collecting donations we have also had a number of fund raisers for the work including a gig at Blackheath Conseervatoire and a family fun day.”
She said: “We are also developing a little shop to raise cash where we are selling donations such as cocktail dresses and stilettos which are not suitable for us to send out. We are looking for volunteers to help sort and pack clothing. We are also looking for people with experience to help run the shop and set up an online store.
“We now have a large unit in Leegate Shopping Centre and so we are looking to expand what we do. We have a whole floor above us that we would like to develop to projects for the community and we are working with a number of local groups on this One is Lewisham charity Brighter Beginnings which collects and distributes baby items to families on low incomes.”
For more information visit www.graceaid.org.uk