Haarlem, Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 – 400 volunteers already joined the Aid Caravan to Greece since August 29, 2015 but 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 organization Foundation Aid Caravan.
There is need of a team of volunteers to help in sorting extra-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 extra 10 trucks with drivers to drive supplies to the distribution center close to Thessaloniki in Greece. But 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, labeled and marked as ‘fragile’. We still need the following items: permanent markers, tape, labels.
A good start
10,000 people have donated goods. Around 1,500 cubic meters of relief goods is stored throughout the country. The organization is touched by such a help. What started as a personal project initiator Erika Mauritz has grown into a well-oiled supply chain is anchored in almost all Dutch Provinces and in Belgium. It includes not only clothes but also donations. The action Women 4 women gave about 2000 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 then 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 organizations. The organization is very transparent about what exactly will happen to the goods and has now also received acclaim from among more several large transportation companies, the municipality of Alkmaar, warehouse owners, market stallholders and local entrepreneurs. Some of the benefactors are unknown and donated anonymously. We raised so far around 8900 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 a ANBI-organization, therefore any donation is tax deductible. All the money will be used to locally to buy basic goods for the refugees, and to cover costs of transportation and organization. It is possible to donate through PayPal or by making a donation to the bank account NL08 TRIO 0212 2698 44, Attn Party for People and Spirit, o.v.v. GREECE.
In the whole country the initiative gets many followers on social media. For example, among others, student teams, kindergartens and artists support and provide expert generous free advice on logistics and transport relief supplies. The Dutch retailers have also helped a lot, through a large amount of products that are specially purchased for the action. The main effect of Aid Cavaravan is that people who are able to cooperate come into action. This gives the volunteers and the organization an enormous drive to organize a good and successful mission. The motto of this initiative is: “ordinary people help ordinary people”.