For the last two years, St Mary’s church, Chiddingfold, has organised collections of winter clothing, footwear and bedding to be sent to refugees from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.
Thousands of refugees of all ages are living in camps in Northern Iraq where temperatures plummet to well below zero during the winter months. Last year several refugees, including children, froze to death because they lacked warm clothing, bedding and shelter.
The congregation of St Mary’s Chiddingfold was stirred to action last year by images of conditions in the refugee camps, with refugees wearing flip flops in the snow, circulated by Brighton mum Samara Levy. Samara felt personally challenged to respond to the desperate plight of freezing refugees and invited local churches, community groups and individuals to join in. Her initial plan to fill and send one container lorry of donated items has grown as people shared her vision of responding in a practical way to the crisis. To date Samara’s Aid has sent 23 container lorries packed with vitally needed supplies in addition to care packs for new and expectant mothers and essential medical equipment. Chiddingfold sent 40 large cartons in January 2015 and a further 72 in October following a second appeal.
The Revd Sarah Brough, rector of St Mary’s Chiddingfold says: “We’ve had a fantastic response to our Winter Appeal for Refugees this year. People have been very generous with gifts of items, time helping to sort and pack and donations towards transport costs. All the items will be taken to camps in Northern Iraq in which refugees from Syria and Iraq will spend the winter."
For more information about Samara’s Aid, find the charity on Facebook or visit their website, www.samarasaidappeal.org/