The plight of refugees struggling to get to a country where they can live in peace is well known throughout the world but after seeing the recent refugees across Europe Moxie DePaulitte from the charity group, ‘Dumfries and Galloway Refugee Action’, decided to help alleviate their suffering. Bishop Goodare of the Dumfries congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Edinburgh, Scotland gave permission for the church building to be used as a collection hub for donations for refugees.
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“Moxie DePaulitte started this project on Facebook and within 48 hours 2,000 people had signed up to offer help and give donations. This was not a church initiative. Several of our church members wanted to help in whatever way they could,” he remarked.
Within four days of the plea for donations, hundreds of bags of clothing, camping equipment, toiletries and sleeping mats arrived at the church. Food items were donated by local supermarkets.
That was just the start of an avalanche of goodwill. During the time that the church was open for donations, members and non members worked side by side sorting clothing. Parents brought their children to help in this community service project. Church youth assisted in sorting clothing and bagging items. LDS missionaries also helped in this endeavour. The youth slipped “love notes” into the pockets of clothing as they bagged the items. The notes contained words of encouragement and love to the unknown recipients.
One local food outlet sent pizzas and chips for lunch for all of the volunteers. It was greatly appreciated by everyone. Local supermarkets donated food items to the service project. What started with one collection hub has grown into 22 hubs and more may be set up.
One child commented, “I just see the faces of the people when they open the boxes.” A lady volunteer spoke of being hugged by other volunteers and “was so glad to be part of a church that opens its doors when help is required.”
Another declared, “It was faith promoting.”
A local woman’s desire has resulted in many volunteers from around Dumfries and Galloway coming together and establishing the start-up of collection hubs housing thousands of donations. The local council has offered the group two depots for storage and is committed to helping in any way they can. Negotiations with local haulage firms are also underway. The first loads of donations are expected to leave the area shortly for the Syrian refugees in Calais where they are desperately needed to alleviate the suffering and distress of refugees. Church and community were united in providing compassionate service to Syrian refugees.