Haarlem, Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
Already 400 volunteers have joined the Aid Caravan to Greece since August 29, 2015. However, we can still use a helping hand. Every day, as many useful goods are collected and sorted at 70 locations in the Netherlands (and Belgium) for refugees in Greece. The number of available supplies is overwhelming, but there is still great demand for helping hands and donations, because the mission is not yet complete. Tomorrow, on Thursday, October 1st we will stop collecting and the caravan will literally start to get moving. The first trip is scheduled for Saturday, October 17th. However, this still requires a number of essential items so that the travelling can start at its best, according to the organisation Foundation Aid Caravan.
There is need of a team of volunteers to help in sorting non-perishable food in the coming days in Alkmaar, Delft, Ede, and Appingedam from 1st October and in Bleiswijk from October 5th. We still need transportation for the central storage in Bleiswijk. In addition, we will need 10 extra trucks with drivers to drive supplies to the distribution center close to Thessaloniki in Greece. Also, other practical things are needed, like a vacuum machine for blankets and sleeping bags to pack, from Thursday 1st to Saturday 17th October. A lot more boxes needs to be closed, packed, marked with waterproof, labelled and marked as ‘fragile’. We still need the following items: permanent markers, tape and labels.
A good start
Some 10,000 people have donated goods. Around 1,500 cubic meters of relief goods are stored throughout the country. The organisation is deeply touched by such help. What started as a personal project by founder Erika Mauritz has grown into a well-oiled supply chain; anchored in almost all Dutch Provinces and in Belgium. It includes not only clothes, but also donations. The initiative Women 4 Women gave about 2,000 full toiletry bags. Backpacks are filled with toys by primary school students and their parents at various locations in the Netherlands.
All items are collected by volunteers at the collection points, to be sorted and distributed to the final location in the Netherlands, Bleiswijk. From October 17th, the Aid Caravan will leave for a distribution center in Thessaloniki, which can sort the requests for help. At the same time we will fly to Kos, Leros and Lesbos to prepare to receive goods there, in consultation with the Greek organisations. The organisation is very transparent about what exactly will happen to the goods and has now also received acclaim from among several large transportation companies, the municipality of Alkmaar, warehouse owners, market stall holders and local entrepreneurs. Some of the benefactors are unknown and donated anonymously. So far, we raised about 8,900 euros.
It is possible to donate money all winter long to provide refugees with food and water. People who cannot participate but want to help, can do so by making a donation on behalf of the Party for People and Spirit. MenS is an ANBI approved organisation, therefore any donation is tax deductible. All money will be used to buy basic goods locally for the refugees, and to cover costs of transportation and organisation. It is possible to donate through PayPal or by making a donation to bank account NL08 TRIO 0212 2698 44, Attn Party for People and Spirit, description: GREECE.
Throughout the country the initiative gets many followers on social media. For example; student teams, kindergartens and artists support and provide free expert advice on logistics and transport relief supplies. Dutch retailers have also helped a lot, through a large amount of products that are specially purchased for the initiative. The main effect of Aid Caravan is that people who are able to cooperate come into action. This gives the volunteers and the organisation an enormous drive to organise a good and successful mission. The motto of this initiative is: ordinary people helping ordinarily.