A group of year 7 children have been lending a hand at local charity RAFT (Refugee Aid From Taunton) by sorting clothing and packing boxes ready for shipping to those in need.
RAFT, set up by Federica Smith in 2015, provides aid through donations which are sent throughout Europe. Their aim is to “help refugees and displaced people wherever and whenever we are able, regardless of colour, culture, religion”.
The group of 11 year olds were welcomed at the RAFT warehouse in Taunton by teams of volunteers who gave the children a talk about the charity, then put them to work.
Pupil Chloe Hims said “I started by helping to sort and box lots of shoes into different categories: men’s shoes, ladies’ shoes, children’s shoes, summer shoes and winter shoes. After that I sorted clothing into boxes ready to be shipped. I also got a teddy and wrote a message on it so the little boy or girl who receives it will feel a warm glow inside and know that someone cares.”
Volunteer Lesley enlightened the children with a reflective message; Chloe added: “She said that we were all one race and should all stick together. She also told us that one of her favourite quotes is ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. This is because people learn to adapt to their situations and use what they have.”
After packing boxes the children were tasked with stuffing a coat for a child with useful items and some surprises. “I put a hat, gloves, scarf, raisins, sweets and a small teddy in the coat I prepared” said Chloe. “If I was a child who had to flee my home, I would love a warm coat filled with goodies.”
Taunton Preparatory School carried out a jumble sale last year fundraising for RAFT raising nearly £200. They have also visited previously to give hands-on help and plan to do some further fundraising next month.