At the beginning of September, President Ian Govier, stake president (area Church leader), in south west Wales, received guidelines issued by the Europe Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on providing assistance to immigrants and refugees and immediately began discussions on the best way to proceed.
- South West Wales memberd donate 2 tons to Welsh Refugee Council in 72 hours
- Two tons of donations were made by congregations in South West Wales
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On Sunday 20th September local church leaders within the area began the appeal for donations and by Tuesday 22nd September, over two tons was ready for collection. The next day President Govier, with the assistance of Joshua Pulman and David Roberts, drove a member’s van over 200 miles collecting the donations, finally delivering them to the Welsh Refugee Council in Swansea.
Initially, various local agencies were inundated with donations for delivery to Calais and couldn’t accept any more. After making further enquiries, Refugee Voice Wales (RVW) said that they were desperate for parcels containing non-perishable food items and toiletries for refugees who were already in the Cardiff and Swansea areas. These included Syrians, Africans and people of other nationalities who have escaped war, terror and oppression in a hope of obtaining safety, peace and refuge in Wales.
President Govier said: “I just want to say a big thank you for the donations made by the wonderful members of the Merthyr Tydfil Wales Stake to assist refugees currently living within the boundaries of our stake (region).”
He continued, “I am confident that there will be other opportunities to assist and I am currently liaising with other organisations and charities including Migrant Help UK. The Refugee Council for Wales will also send me updates regarding the impact our donations will make to refugee recipients. I'm sure our members would like to know how these people will be helped. I believe that our efforts will make a small yet significant difference.” Members of the Church have since offered help sorting all the items ready for distribution to families and individuals based on need.
The local lead for the Welsh Refugee Council, Lina Liu, was especially grateful and seemed quite overwhelmed by the generosity of a relatively small group of people. She and her husband Jack were astonished that such a response could be obtained within the space of just three days. She commented, “You and all your members in the church truly did a wonderful thing. Your generosity will directly benefit all the refugees and their families in Swansea who access our services. We have started giving things out to clients who are in the greatest need. Your help means a lot to them. Most of them flee from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Ethiopia etc. and your support has helped and will definitely help them to go through the transition period a lot more smoothly. The Welsh Refugee Council is helping all the refugees to provide a move on service—prevent them being homeless and destitute and I am sure with your help, our service will be even more invaluable to them.”