FINAL preparations are under way for a mercy mission to help refugees in Calais by volunteers from the North East.
The group of friends, who have been joined by more than 4,200 people on Facebook, got together to appeal for donations of tents, sleeping bags, warm clothing for men and men’s shoes, pots and pans, toiletries and tinned food.
Aid donated to the group – North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees – is being collected across the region ready to be taken to Calais on September 18.
Co-founder of North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees, Jenni Yuill, a politics teacher at The King’s Academy, in Coulby Newham, said: “Charity does not begin at home, it begins where there is a need and it ends when we begin to discriminate.
“We are all humans and this could be any one of us. We cannot stand by and watch people suffer or punish them for having the ill fortune to be born in a country torn apart by war or persecution.”
Fellow co-founder, Lalon Amin, from Tyneside, added: “We are responding to a humanitarian crisis. We have already been inundated with offers to help, which goes to show this region has a real heart. We are all simply trying to help people who are in desperate need.”
The group is asking for all donations to be made by September 10, in labelled bin bags and boxes, to allow for collection before the trip. The volunteers were also given permission to salvage tents and camping equipment following the Leeds festival.
A full list of wanted items and the collection points across the region can be found by visiting Facebook.com and searching for North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees.
More than £3,500 has also been given via a fundraising page at https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/NortheastsolidarityCalais to help with transportation costs.