Volunteers have been left in tears by the “overwhelming” response to an appeal to help the refugees in the middle of the crisis engulfing Europe.
Community leaders in Meltham have now organised two ‘mass volunteering’ days this weekend to sort through thousands of donations, which include tents, sleeping bags, clothes, shoes and household goods, before they are taken abroad to help those most affected.
Among the donations was a box from a nine-year-old girl in Honley, which contained a one Euro coin, bracelet and a letter saying: “I have sent you some stuff and hope you like it. I hope you can sleep with your mummy and are safe.”
The town’s Carlile Institute is being used to receive the donations, which are being boxed ready for transport.
Town councillor Richard Noon, who is a trustee of the Institute, said: “It has been overwhelming.
“It all shows just how much a community can do. When you have that compassion, anything is possible.
“We have had volunteers in tears, and hugging each other. There’s the physical toll of all the work they are doing, but it has affected them psychologically too.
“Some of the stories behind the donations have been incredible. One woman who lost her husband two years ago had kept his clothes, and thought donating them to this appeal was the right thing to do.
“People have been so keen and so willing to help.
“We went for an act now, think later approach, and people have responded in an amazing way.”
The appeal was launched through a simple Tweet to Mr Noon from a woman asking if there was anywhere donations could be taken.
He replied suggesting the Carlile Institute, and within hours the appeal was spreading through social media and donations were starting to pour in.
The Meltham team is now sorting through the donations as restrictions with Customs mean some items, such as food, will have to stay in Britain.
Mr Noon said: “There is an issue with some of the items and we are sending them to Leeds, Wakefield and Manchester to help people who are here seeking asylum.”
The other goods will be boxed and Post Office Ltd, which has donated the use of a 20 tonne truck, will take them next Thursday, first to Batley, before they are loaded into containers.
There had been suggestions some of the goods would be sent to Calais, but Mr Noon said: “We are not going to Calais and that was never the intention. The items will be going to Greece, to Germany, to Syria, the Lebanon, wherever they are most needed.”
The team is hoping people will volunteer to help sort the items this weekend. The sorting will take place from 1pm on Saturday, and from 8am on Sunday.
Anyone wanting to help should contact the team through the Carlile Institute website at www.carlileinstitute.co.uk/