What else to do on a rainy Wednesday in June but take a trip with loads of donated clothes and household goods to our good friend Ruth Exell- Whitehart who volunteers with others at the Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response Project [SHARP] in Gorseinon?
Photos at Brecon
So many generous people had donated lovely things to our drop off points at St Mary’s church in Hay, Talgarth Library, and the Liberal Democrats offices in Brecon and even several bags arrived on my doorstep! Sue, Erica and Brenda had sorted and bagged loads of clothes and kitchenware, Sue and Lawrence had cleared Sally’s sheds and Brenda had accumulated many useful items from Freecycle or equivalent. Colin kindly agreed to transport as much as would fit to Gorseinon where Ruth had agreed to open specially for us.
SHARP and Ruth barely visible behind the bags, the organised bags to go and Ruth showing how she wants things packed.
As we started to unload we met Carl, Kayleigh and Matt, who are volunteers from Oranges and Lemons (a charity that provides household goods to people in need). They had arranged to take away all household goods that can’t go to the refugee camps to free up a little space in the SHARP store and in exchange to let Ruth have clothing, towels and sheets from their stock. Thus we diverted many of the household items we had so they can be given to all in need [including refugees and asylum seekers] in the areas covered by Oranges and Lemons.
The Oranges and Lemons Van ready to leave
After we had unloaded our vehicle and helped to load their van we took a trip to visit the Oranges and Lemons store in Llansamlet and met Leeanne and Aaron who are 2 of the 3 directors. They rent a massive warehouse with so much of every thing that might be needed to set up a house – even including washing machines and ornaments! When people are referred by approved people such as food banks, social services, Ruth etc, they can visit the warehouse and select what they need and even have it delivered for £20. All items are donated and made freely available with occasional surplus being sold to raise funds to help pay bills. All in all a superb service that we can help to support and encourage our partners to refer to.
Photos taken at Oranges and Lemons
After a quick look around and some photos we left for home and spent ages telling people about our exciting day!
Oranges and Lemons: https://www.orangesandlemonscymru.com
From the Oranges and Lemons Facebook page: ‘We just wanted to let everyone know about a few things with regards to how we run as a charity and what our basic rules and requirements are. We provide a vital service to some 40 different services and organisations. Mainly in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot. We also cover as far as Bridgend, Llanelli and surrounding areas. Dyfed Powys as far as Aberdulais, Colbren and Ystradgynlais areas.
We are reliant upon the generous donations of the public and have several local companies on board. Please take into consideration that every member of the team here are volunteers. They do not get paid and give hours of their own time out of the goodness of their hearts to help us to continue to provide such a service . We are not open to just anyone. We require a referral from a service, for example – social services, food banks, health visitors, probation, women’s aid, the mission etc. This is because people have mistreated the service before. My volunteers are here to help and will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse of any sort and anyone who breaks this rule will be refused any help from us. We work very hard to raise the money to cover the vans running costs in order to carry out collections to stock our warehouse and while we give all items out for free, anyone requiring a delivery ,must cover the cost of the van which is 20 pounds . This must be paid prior to delivery. The delivery is arranged for a time and date please make sure you are at home to receive it! If the van is loaded and upon arrival there is no one home then the 20 pounds is non refundable and a further charge will have to be paid for re delivery. Please know that we provide a delivery service and not a removal service. Items will be delivered and taken into the main building. Our volunteers are not permitted to take furniture upstairs. When selecting items please consider size. Will the item fit? What is the door size? Internal layout? Will it go round the corners? Etc. Again if the item doesn’t fit upon delivery the item will be returned to stock and a further delivery fee will apply. We do not provide brand new items! Unless they are new when donated. If you are expecting new then we are not the service for you. We have also got to cover the lighting at the warehouse and a small amount of rent. We will occasionally do a car boot sale and sell off some excess stock to cover this. We will also sell items to purchase other items where necessary, for example – if we have had 20 moses baskets and 30 car seats in this week but none have gone out, but we have 10 families that need a sauce pan set and a cutlery set which we don’t have in stock, then we may sell some items in order to purchase others. If anyone has any objections then it may be best to donate to someone else. With regards to donators, without you we couldn’t run, so thank you for your support. We accept anything in good reusable condition. We do not accept adult used underpants, soiled mattresses or soiled furniture. Animal or human. Sofas must have a fire label so as we cannot re home them otherwise. Even if the sofa is immaculate. We have to abide by the law. We do not accept video cassettes . We are not a food bank but do have clients who sometimes need a food parcel. If funds are available we do a small shop, for that reason we are always grateful for any tins and long lasting dry food produce. All of our team have young families, there is traffic on the roads and it is illegal to use a cellular device while driving. Please take this into consideration as on occasion we may be late or have to cancel often at short notice. Children get sick, rtas are out of our control and we do not answer phones whilst on the road! Finally please remember that some of our volunteers have learning disabilities, health issues and all have had similar life experiences as you have . We are here to hopefully provide a helpful service, we are not here to serve you! Only to help you. Best wishes, The team.