A small boat carrying 53 refugees arrived on Hastings beach on Thursday lunchtime. A small group of volunteers from Hastings Supports Refugees was there when the boat arrived including Rachael from our parish. They were able to give food and drink and dry clothes to the refugees.
Included in the group were 5 children, including two sisters aged 3 and five. There were also a number of women one who was 6 months pregnant. They came from The Yemen, Iraq, Eritrea, Palstine and many other places. There was even a Ouija who had travelled all the way from China.
The responses from the people of Hastings was tremendous. As well as our small group of volunteers we soon had local people offering food, drink and money. Local businesses brought over trays of chips and tea. It was quite overwhelming.
The refugees were very, very grateful. They were cold, wet, exhausted having spent more than 16 hours in a tiny dinghy. They were also very, very relieved to be safely on dry land. The boats that end up in this area are those that have been blown off course on the way to Dover so people landing along our bit of coast have been at sea for much longer than they had planned. Really, they are lucky to be alive after crossing the busiest shipping channel in the world.
Please can the people in our parish donate toothbrushes, tooth paste and toiletries?
We would like to give each person a little wash kit when they arrive. Also, if anyone has any bags that we can use to make wash kits that would also be really helpful.
These people arrive with literally nothing but the clothes they are standing up in. They aren’t allowed to bring bags as it would add to the weight. Some people arrive without shoes and most arrive in wet clothing. We are always in need of men’s trousers and shoes if you happen to have any. We already have a lot of womens and childrens clothing.
There is a box at the back of the church labelled Hastings Supports Refugees for you to put donations of toothbrushes and any other items.
If you would like to know more, you can follow Hastings Supports Refugees on FaceBook.