The container due to be loaded at Lostock on Saturday 11th November for shipping to refugees in Syria arrived early! Thus ensuring that the loading could begin as soon as the many volunteers arrived for the 9.30am start.
Amarr, “the Top Banana,” was in charge of loading the container with the supplies that were desperately needed, particularly the medical aids such as crutches, wheelchairs, zimmer frames and commodes, which, as you can imagine are very difficult to pack! The Explorers will be pleased to know that, with the exception of a small number of commodes which are destined for Greece, everything went! As did the boxes and boxes of Underjams. We actually saw a space in the loading bay! Mind you, once the container was full to the brim and the doors closed, Sue and her team lost no time in re-organising the loading bay with bags of sorted items ready for the next container!
A small team from the scout group, namely Rob, Cyndy, Joshua and his mum Sharon went along to represent the group and help with the mammoth task of filling the huge shipping container. We started around 9.30am, took a short break for coffee and cake and observed the 2 minutes silence at 11am, then it was back to work with the loading. The doors were finally closed on a jam, or should I say Underjam packed container around 12.30pm.
When we stopped for the break I took a peek in the back of the container and it was about three quarters full. When I checked after the break, it had been properly packed and stacked and now less than half full! I never saw the magician who managed to do it, but it was quite amazing and Amarr took great advantage of the space!
There must have been around 40 volunteers of all ages who came along to help, whether it was to make the tea, re-pack some of the bags which had broken loose, or join the chain of people moving everything from the building to the container. It was quite a sight and the neighbours must have found it most amusing hearing the cry go out on a regular basis – “more underjams!” After observing this operation happen 28 times before, I am sure they are used to it by now!.
Talking to some of the other volunteers afterwards quite a few people mentioned how well the scouts and explorers had done during their visits. I was very proud to hear their comments. One gentleman also told us he had been in Scouting in Syria and enjoyed camping and campfires.
What a fitting way to celebrate Armistice Day, helping those who have suffered as a result of conflict and lost loved ones.
I certainly hope that the group can continue this link with CARE UK with regular Friday night visits, donations and maybe a few more volunteers for the container loading.