This has been one of the busiest days since the start of MOOL and certainly since 2015. It’s been extraordinary, a wonderful day full of kindness and understanding.
We’ve been given use of the depot for a month to sort and pack aid for the Ukraine by the council. It’s a great space for us to sort and pack and Julie and Mark from OPIR have done a brilliant job of clearing it and setting up for us. Yesterday we were working on stuff that had previously been donated to MOOL together with Ukrainian donations left at the drop-off point at St Andrews.
I start at St Andrews – Rosie – our lovely depot manager isn’t working at the depot today but she’s going to speak at the Anti-war rally in the town and I need to make sure that she has the petition we’re putting out in support of Naeem Hijazi, who’s just escaped his third war; Syria, Sudan, and now Ukraine. He’s stateless and his parents desperately want him to be able to come to Scotland. We’re so grateful that the organisers of the rally, DGQueerier, IWWW Solway and Dumfries TUC have chosen MOOL to be the charity for collection at the rally and I’ve needed to buy buckets for the collection.
I get a call from the Sunday National and try to explain what I think’s happening with donations and how and why we’re being so careful about what we can and can’t take. I’m always worried I’ll find afterwards that I’ve said something wrong but I do my best to make sense.
I get to the depot at 10 and Archie – one of the pillars of our efforts is there before me. We’re the envy of many groups because Archie provides us with banana boxes – the gold standard for packing aid.
I’m hardly through the door when Helen comes in. She’s only just joined us and she’s fantastic! We were neither of us there at the end of yesterday’s shift so there’s a bit of working out to be done as to what is where. Then there’s Celia Cherry a brand-new recruit who takes to the work like a duck to water. Then the McIntosh’s with their daughter and Liz Dawson come in and we’re under way!
All day donations keep coming in. There are people bringing car-loads from Wigtown and van-loads from Kirkcudbright. Sometimes we have to tell people that we can’t take their donations; duvets, pillow and nappies are simply not sensible uses of the limited space we have on the convoy and they aren’t wanted by our usual destinations because they can’t be dried under camp conditions. We’re also not taking liquids of any kind because it complicates the customs transitions. I feel awful asking them to take things away but everyone accepts it with amazing good grace.
We’ve had some lovely notes of love to put in the loads – I’ve not taken enough pictures but here are two of them
At 1:30 Rosie messages to say that we’ve had over £650 at the rally! It’s astonishing and really humbling. It will make a big difference to the project and the help we can get to people.
Archie comes back with more boxes, we’re running out already.
The time flies by, then we’re contacted by the Rotary Club who were taking things to Lockerbie but find that the people there can’t take any more. Mike turns up with a vanload of stuff and we take what we can use but have to turn quite a bit away. Just as we’re about stop he offers me a “survival box”. I’d never heard of them before but it turns out its exactly what’s likely to be needed in Ukraine so I’m delighted that we took it in.
At 4 we close down – the amount of donations is so great that we’ll have to stop taking donations from the end of tomorrow. It’s overwhelming how kind and generous people have been, none of our volunteers have stopped for lunch so I find myself nibbling my sandwich as I drive home.
There’s a heap of admin to be done once I get home but it’s been heartwarming, heartbreaking and exhilarating all at once.