Beeston unites around Middle East aid convoy

Beeston residents are helping to organise a convoy of much-needed clothing and supplies from Leeds to refugees in Iraq later this month, and are urgently appealing for help and donations.

Winter in the Iraqi refugee camps (image courtesy of Canon Andrew White)
Winter in the Iraqi refugee camps (image courtesy of Canon Andrew White)

Violence in Syria and Iraq over the past 2+ years has led to millions of people being forced to flee their homes – and many have ended up in refugee camps across the Middle East, and are now facing brutal winter conditions. The UN estimates that 450,000 people (of whom 225,000 are children) urgently need winter clothes and shoes in Iraq.

A group of Beeston residents are therefore this month helping to coordinate an appeal called Leeds2Iraq, for people here to donate winter clothing and shoes to be sent to displaced families in Iraqi Kurdistan. The donations will be distributed by the Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq, an independent charity that’s been working in that area for 20+ years.

One of those coordinating the appeal, Beeston resident Lydia Brown, says:

“Many of us do face real challenges here in Leeds – but in many ways, we’re pretty lucky. People in the Iraqi refugee camps often have almost nothing to their name, yet we can help make things a bit better for them. It’s been really inspiring to see so many different people working together on this appeal – and it’s not too late to get involved.”

There are many ways to support or donate. They’re especially requesting warm, good-quality winter clothes (clean and washed please), shoes,  sleeping bags, blankets, and baby clothes. Drop them off at St Luke’s Church on Malvern Road in Beeston on Wednesday 21st or Thursday 22nd January between 7pm-9pm, or on Saturday 24th between 10am-2pm.

Financial donations (even just a few pounds) are also very welcome, to help pay for the transport costs. Volunteers are also needed all day on Saturday 24th at St Luke’s, to help sort and pack the donations. Vans and drivers are also needed, for the week of Monday 26th. And strong boxes would be useful.

For more info or to get involved, click here or comment below.