In June the Canterbury Stake Relief Society sisters rallied together to respond to the Charity appeal ‘Keep a Child warm’ from Operation Orphan. A collection of hand knitted blankets, warm clothing and boots filled the Canterbury Cultural Hall. These were dispatched to Moldova and Ukraine.
A month later we felt a sense of urgency to provide aid for our Brother and Sisters seeking refuge throughout Europe. There was no clue at the start of this journey that there would be such emotion involved. Ordinarily, a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers determined to help collect donations for a worthy cause stays within its original remit, but what began as a request for the church to get involved by the Canterbury Stake Relief Society presidency turned into something much, much more.
In early September, an appeal went out, asking members and the public to get involved and to donate clothes and goods. The response was overwhelming! Far from being a Stake response, the appeal drew donations from far and wide, with other religious groups doing their bit with donations, prayers and practical help. The Canterbury mosque was one of the religious groups that put an enormous amount of effort into helping, with help and support in the form of specially dedicated prayers for the drive. Other church groups asked us to take their donations and provided assistance in sorting and boxing items ready for dispatch. The Canterbury Stake Primary children played their part by putting together hygiene kits for their Faith In God activity, helping to engender a desire to help amongst our future leaders of the Church. We knew that the Lord was listening to our prayers when, after being informed that one of the vans was overladen and we dragged our weary bodies back to re-distribute the weight, we were met by missionaries with cheery dispositions who made light work of the task. With a team of members, we drove to Slough, where the items were gratefully received by Calaid and then distributed to port Piraeus in Greece
Feeling as though our work was not yet done, we made arrangements to visit the infamous ‘Jungle’ in Calais, to offer help and to become better acquainted with what the immediate needs were for our fellow man.
|Canterbury Stake Relief Society Presidency - |
Naomi Potter and Marisa Rickard