Where do you send the items we donate?
We send most of what we receive to RAFT – Refugee Aid from Taunton, a brilliant charity which runs a regional warehouse for aid. They sort, organise and pack items so that when transport is available for any given destination, they can check what is needed at that point against what is in stock, and send exactly what is needed. Items go to many destinations including to France, Greece, Syria, Africa. Some items will also be given to refugees resettled locally, or other local people in need.
Are all donated items sent to refugees?
No: sadly some of the items we receive are either in too poor a condition, or are not appropriate.
Items that are in good condition but are not appropriate for us to send to refugees include clothing with slogans or imagery relating to violence, drugs, nationalism etc; items that need a lot of care, ironing or dry cleaning; evening wear, night wear, beach wear, school uniform, office clothes, high heels, skimpy women’s clothing. We can usually sell these to help fund the cost of transporting other donations.
Items that aren’t good enough to give to refugees or sell include those that are torn, frayed, faded, dirty, or have broken zips. Sometimes these can be used for charitable craft projects, but otherwise they end up as rag.
If we receive high quality branded items which are not on the urgent list, and we have the opportunity to sell them in order to fund other items which are urgently needed (like food), we might do so.
How long does it take for donated items to get to the refugees?
It varies: sometimes things go out in a matter of days, especially if we’ve put out a special appeal and have a driver ready to go to Calais. We can sometimes find that an item that was urgently needed in Calais disappears from their list for a while, in which case we may redirect it to Syria if that would mean it would get to a refugee in need more quickly. Sometimes items that are unseasonal may be held until they are required.