The Hyndburn public has been thanked after raising more than £1,500 in a fundraising effort for refugees in Calais.
Over the past three weeks activists from Drive For Justice have been fundraising and collecting donations from across Lancashire, raising over £15,000 in total for the Convoy to Calais. A community team set off for Calais on Saturday to deliver aid and supplies to refugees.
Fundraisers in Accrington collected over £1,500 from cake sales and charity face painting events with K’s Car Wash on Blackburn Road, Accrington one of several stops in East Lancashire accepting donated food and clothing.
Co-founder of DFJ, Asif Mahmud said: “The pictures on the news do not tell the true story. When it rains the tents start to sink and refugees only get food once a day.
“It is an absolute nightmare, and it is our moral duty to help.”
Volunteers worked into the early hours of Friday morning to sort through the aid donations and pack parcels ready to give to those in need.
An initial visit to Calais was run by a small group from DFJ to assess the camp situation and the specific needs of the refugees so that they could be more targeted in their delivery of aid.
They identified a lack of key items such as warm clothes, sleeping bags, dry food and toiletries.
Asif said that the group had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of people’s donations but that the crisis was going to be a long-term problem that required more than one campaign.
He said: “We want to raise continued awareness of this issue and keep the world focused on it. There needs to be an international response.
“The Calais campaign is only the first stage for Drive for Justice, the second stage is to go further, go to Greece, Turkey or Hungary.
“We’re going to work out a plan of action then send a convoy to go to those parts.”
A convoy of loaded vans will depart from Corporation Park in Blackburn on Saturday, September 19 at 11am and cross the channel at Dover.
Together with charities on the ground the donations will be distributed to the ‘jungle’ refugee camp at Calais and to smaller camps around Dunkirk.
Most of the volunteers are young men and women with full time jobs from across Lancashire who were inspired to help the plight of refugees.
To donate, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Drive-For-Justice