GENEROUS students have responded instantly to a critical call for help providing urgently needed supplies for the starving of war-ravaged Syria.
Carmel College, Darlington, collected a host of food for the people of Aleppo after being asked for help by Darlington Assistance for Refugees.
The act of generosity by students and their families comes ahead of the town welcoming the first families from Syria next month and at a time when Pope Francis has declared a Holy Year of Mercy in the Catholic world.
Carmel College’s lay chaplain and RE teacher Andrew Gardner said: “The speed of the response is what makes Carmel College such a special place. Children arrived with massive trays of food.
“The Pope asked us all to provide food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty and clothes for the naked and our students and their families certainly came up with the goods.”
Students won high praise for their “amazing” response which collected enough donations to more than fill the school’s minibus in just a matter of days.
DAR schools liaison officer Alison Holland said the group, which was established to support those affected by the Syrian civil war, had been “overwhelmed” by their generosity.
“I think it is amazing and it shows how generous people in Darlington are and how much support there is here for refugees,” she said. “Donations such as these really can make the difference between life and death. Thank you so much to Carmel College, its pupils and their families.”
It is estimated that 470,000 people have been killed since the conflict began five years ago. A further 6.6 million people have been displaced within Syria and 4.6 million forced to leave the country.
As well as organising support for these families, DAR is sending vital supplies to those suffering in refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East.
The group is working alongside Refugee Aid Network (RAN), which is co-ordinating aid efforts in communities across the country.
Sajna Miah, RAN representative for Darlington, praised the efforts of Carmel College students.
“It’s been a wonderful response in such a short space of time,” she said. “Overall, there has been so much support from the people of Darlington. It’s heartening to know there are so many kind people in our town."
DAR and RAN are looking for volunteers to help them continue their work. Both groups can be found on Facebook. DAR can be contacted by email at DARhelp@outlook.com.