Volunteer mother urges people to ‘channel outrage in a practical way’

The Irish mother organising a massive aid convoy for refugees stranded in Calais has urged those moved by the images of a drowned Syrian child to channel their outrage in a practical way.

Cork businesswoman, Tracey Ryan, appealed to people to donate food, clothing, medical supplies and money to the Cork Calais Refugee Solidarity which will hold a fundraiser in the city tonight, and a major aid collection day tomorrow.

“When those pictures of that little boy emerged, we were flooded with offers of help,” Ms Ryan said.

“We have about 30 centres around the country organising and collecting items which will be delivered to our warehouse in Cork.

"We have no logistics costs and no middle men so this is real people-to-people aid.”

Her plea came as people flooded the group’s Facebook page with details of fundraisers.

The Kingsley Hotel in Cork will tonight host a €75-a-head black-tie fundraiser for Syrian woman and children who have fled to a refugee camp in Jordan.

A website is being built to allow people register their interest in opening their homes to refugees.

Another fundraiser entitled Under Syrian Skies is being planned for the Redemptorist Retreat Centre on Cork’s Castle Road on September 19.

There will be a family fun day, also on September 19, at Scala, directly across from Blackrock Castle Observatory from 12-5pm.

All proceeds will go towards the Calais convoy.

Electric Picnic confirmed charities will be on site this weekend to collect unwanted tents and sleeping bags.

Ms Ryan, said as of yesterday, the convoy, which is being supported by Stena Line and Nolan Transport, included a four-tonne capacity articulated truck, which will be filled with aid, nine vans, six cars, a camper van, and a mini-bus.

The convoy, and at least 34 volunteers, is due to depart Rosslare at the end of the month for Calais.

The volunteers will spend up to a week in the French port, working with French charity L’Auberge des Migrants, distributing aid and building shelters for the estimated 4,000 refugees.

Ms Ryan, who is five months pregnant, plans to spend a week there with her husband coordinating the relief effort.

Volunteers will be on hand tomorrow to take delivery of donations at Unit O3 at the Marina Commercial Park in Cork city.

They are seeking warm winter clothes, sanitary items, bedding and tents, as well as cash .

A fundraiser takes place in An Spailpín Fánach in Cork City at 8pm tonight. Admission €5.

Details of nationwide collection points are on the Cork Calais Refugee Solidarity page on Facebook.

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