The first of two 40 foot containers was sent off from Rochdale to Aleppo in Syria on 22nd December. It contained warm winter clothes, food, medicine, medical equipment, nappies, etc – all donated by hundreds of people and businesses from the region. The second container will be going to Aleppo in early January.
Upper Calder Valley, which received so much kindness and help from total strangers this time last year in the aftermath of the Boxing Day flood, donated many clothes.
The Asian community in Rochdale organised both the collection of donations and the two containers. The containers are transported by an organisation called One Nation, which also sends containers with supplies to Africa, Greece, Yemen and elsewhere.
One of the key organisers, Mohammed Sheraz, said:
“We have been overwhelmed by the widespread support we have received for the two containers. The public knows there is a great need for this humanitarian support – with children, old people and the sick living in tents in freezing temperatures. We have had hundreds of volunteers helping collecting donations, sorting the clothes into boxes and packing the first container. We have shown what we can achieve by working together.”
Clothes were also donated from Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Mytholmroyd, Blackshaw Head and other Upper Calder Valley villages.
Laura Beesley, chair of Together We Grow – a Blackshaw Head organisation that invites asylum seekers and refugees and their families to grow vegetables and flowers, to enjoy nature and to do volunteering with local residents – said:
“Nine cars, two trailers and two vans full of clothes went from Upper Calder Valley to the containers for Aleppo and we would like to thank everyone who donated – often with very short notice. In Todmorden and Heptonstall it was all done in one day! People from our valley also helped with the sorting out of the clothes for the boxes and packing the container.”