Volunteers at a relief charity are packing their bags yet again to help those in need overseas.
Representatives at SHARE, a Mold-based charity which collects, organises and distributes much needed aid for those in crisis, will be heading out for a third trip to Calais with donated items for the homeless refugees.
Lowri Earith, who is also a councillor for Hawarden, is among the representatives and is looking forward to her third visit to France, where she will share out donated goods such as sleeping bags and clothes.
Following her trip on July 16 this year, Lowri has been busy supporting the ‘SNUG’ campaign, which is already receiving much needed support from donations and from followers on social media.
The ‘SNUG’ concept stands for ‘socks, neck scarf, underwear and gloves’, a package of warm winter clothing for refugees in Calais. Volunteers at SHARE said that men’s size small and medium underwear are the most desperately needed.
Lowri and the team will ferry over to France at the beginning of October to share these packages to the homeless who are in desperate need.
She said she was very nervous about her last visit as the situation in Calais had apparently worsened following the dismantling of the ‘Jungle’ last year.
Of her July trip, she said: “Although obviously a terrible situation for the refugees, I was really impressed with the camp and the sense of community the residents had managed to create for themselves.
“I was worried that without that community things would be so much worse for them. This has definitely proved to be the case.”
Despite her fears that their van would be refused entry to the Calais base as many other charities’ vehicles had been, the crossing was “fine” and they headed for the L’auberge de Migrants warehouse at 2am.
Lowri said: “The Mayor of Calais has recently banned charities from giving out food, clothes or bedding and although they still are, it has become a lot more dangerous with volunteers being tear gassed whilst sat in their vans as well as heavy handed intimidation tactics by the French riot police whilst they [volunteers] are distributing food to hungry people.”
Lowri hopes the next trip will reveal some improvement in the “dire” situation of the refugees, who have to choose between having a tent and risking tear gas from the police, or have no tent and be exposed to the bitter cold and wind with the chance of being able to run when the police come at night.
She is also looking forward to working alongside many other charities who cater for Calais and Dunkirk refugees.
She said after the July trip: “We were even lucky enough to share the food as the volunteers eat the same food as the refugees with the focus being on good healthy food served with respect and compassion.
“Our time in Calais was short [last] time but we are very keen to go back as soon as possible with more donations and to spend longer volunteering with these amazing groups.”
SHARE are still welcoming all types of donations to their Mold office on Raikes Lane, and Lowri encourages residents to do so to support this cause which also helps local homeless.
See full story in the Leader