****UPDATE – We will be taking all donations to Syria Relief HQ at the end of the month, so final donations need to be taken to the cafes by Wednesday 21st October.****
We have all been impacted by the coverage of the refugee crisis in Syria and the subsequent migration across Europe.
We wanted to be able to support in a practical and tangible way rather than just collecting cash donations for an international aid organisation. As a result, our cafes will be acting as collection centres for donations.
We have been talking to a charity called Syria Relief who have been working in the region for the last four years. Their current campaign is an appeal for medical, food & clothing items which are sent directly to the areas in which they are needed. The charity does a huge amount of other work in Syria including, amongst many others – a mobile prosthetics limb clinic, sponsoring schools, food security projects and supporting orphans.
The current appeal gets items to different areas that are in need in two ways. Firstly as convoys – large lorries and support vehicles are being sent once a week from their Manchester HQ direct to what they term as ‘refugee flash points’. These are areas where there are large numbers of refugees arriving but no infrastructure to take care of them – no camps, no medical or food tents, nothing at all. These are currently in Hungary and on the Greece/Macedonian border but will change as the crisis evolves and the need is felt elsewhere. Secondly via cargo ships, currently leaving once a month, dock in Turkey and then are driven direct to Syria to be given out to those unable to leave the conflict zone. We are collecting for both of these.
In short, they do an amazing job getting essential gear right to where it’s needed, with minimal wastage or bureaucratic bleed on contributions.
So our plan is to use our cafes as collection points, a list of the items that they are in need of most is below:
- Canned Food: Fish, Lentils, Sweetcorn, Fruit, Dates
- Peanut Butter, Margarine
- Shampoo, Soap
- Toothpaste, Toothbrush
- Sanitary Pads
- Sleeping Bags
- Sleeping Mats
First Aid Kits
- Medicines: Pain Killers, Plasters
- Mosquito protection cream / nets
Preferably nothing perishable, and apart from the tents & sleeping bags/blankets – nothing too bulky. As this is an emergency response these are the only things they are taking as they are deemed to be the items most needed. They have enough clothes currently so have asked for these not to be collected for the time being.
A big thanks to A David who have kindly agreed to help us get donated items from our cafes to a central warehouse in Bristol, after which the BTP team will drive it up to Syria Relief HQ up in Manchester.
We will also be donating a pound for each package of items donated. This will then be given as our contribution to the transportation costs of getting the donations to those in need. The cost of which would otherwise come out of their own funds which may well have been earmarked for other projects within Syria.
Please be generous and give whatever items you can to the appeal, so we can all do our bit to help.
For more information on other ways to help with the appeal, please visit the Syria Relief website.
Syria Relief Charity Reg. No. 1143797