More than 120 people came together to meet and learn about refugees in Epsom, and send hundreds of items to Syria and Iraq.
The meeting, at St Joseph’s Church on Saturday, September 30, had speakers, and demonstrations in Syrian cooking, henna hand painting, music and dancing led by refugees.
Among the speakers were Mohamad Hamid, a refugee from Sudan; Ingrid Van Loo Plowman, a refugee host who has had nine guests so far, including Mr Hamid; Amber Bauer, founder of Donate4Refugees; Nina Kaye, Epsom resident and founder of Refugees at Home; and a representative of the Ali Walid Welfare Trust.
Jo Sherring, from the Epsom Refugee Network, said: “The event was amazing for connecting people who feel they want to do something to help. They were able to learn what is going on locally and how to get involved.
“It was brilliant to welcome refugees living in this area and for them to see for themselves what strong local support there is for their plight. We were amazed at the number of people who attended and the level of engagement, with so many people leaving contact details and offering help.”
Attendees donated £520 in cash, to be shared between Anaya Aid and Samara Aid, as well as a large number of items that will be sent to the Middle East.
These include: 136 packs of underwear, 343 toothbrushes or tubes of toothpaste, 30 packs of nappies, 116 packs of sanitary towels and 145kg of food.
Nina Kaye, from Refugees at Home, said: “It is really heart-warming to see how many people want to help refugees in this country – especially in Epsom and Ewell where many of them are being hosted by kind, altruistic people.
“We are desperate for more hosts, especially in Epsom where there is a growing community of hosts and guests who meet regularly at Zig Zag café.”