Pupils at St Mary’s CofE Primary School, Chiddingfold, joined in a cross-village effort to send winter clothing and blankets to Iraq and Syria as temperatures plummet and conditions worsen.
Five pupils from year four helped a team of volunteers pack and sort donations which had been collected from across the community including from the school and village nursery.
The first lorry from Worthing has arrived in Dohuk, Northern Iraq, where already overstretched communities and aid organisations await the arrival of refugees fleeing Mosul.
Almost 3.5million people in Iraq have had to leave their homes because of conflict and the UN has recently warned that the current military operation to retake Mosul from ISIL will lead to the single most complex humanitarian operation in the world today.
Appeal organiser Chiddingfold Rector the Revd Sarah Brough said: “The response from the community has been amazing.
“Fifty-eight large cartons and 24 banana boxes filled with carefully sorted goods were delivered to a warehouse in Worthing and we have just heard that the aid is starting to arrive.
“The people of Chiddingfold were so generous with their time, the goods they collected and donations they gave towards the transport costs.
“It is easy to feel helpless at a time of such appalling tragedy and we know our goods are a drop in the ocean but we hope and pray that as well as bringing warmth, these gifts also go with a message of hope that the people of Iraq and Syria are not forgotten.”
St Mary’s School headteacher Janis Radcliffe said: “It was a wonderful opportunity for our children to think about others and to invest their time into a worthwhile cause.
“Our children are always generous of spirit and thoughtful about the plight of others.
"The fact that they were able to take part in the whole process from start to finish, including sorting, packing and preparing the clothes and blankets for loading onto the lorries, rendered the experience all the more meaningful and rewarding for children.”
The aid was organised by Samara's Aid
who will be organising a further winter collection for delivery in January and are also funding medical care in Syria.