For the thirteenth year, the Lions Clubs in the Southeast have sent vital necessities to orphanages and families in need in Belarus. Rye and District Lions have assisted Judy Pope, wife of Rye Lions Stuart Pope, who has collected most of the items, by transporting the boxes of donated goods from Rye to Queenborough. All of these will be distributed to orphanages, schools, kindergartens and needy families in the Gomel area of Belarus where they are still affected by the accident at Chernobyl power station in neighbouring Ukraine over 26 years ago.
Judy has been collecting these boxes of items for seven years now and was rather disappointed that she did not fill as many as last year. However, the 76 boxes she has filled this year were much larger packing cases than last year, so the total amount is probably similar. Rather peculiarly the boxes, filled by Lions clubs in the Southeast are called “shoeboxes”, but in practice the boxes are usually considerably much larger.
The complete load leaving the UK this year consists of 950 boxes and other items on the main load and another 102 pallets in the second lorry, with a total weight of 12 tonnes and an estimated second-hand value of some £15,000. There is as usual great variation in what is sent, from toilet paper to stationery, furniture to bicycles and underwear to winter clothing. Some of the children’s winter clothing is desperately needed, with children having to share coats to take turns to go outside in the Winter. Lions Clubs, including Rye, also contribute to the transport costs of getting the lorries to Belarus, which is a considerable amount.
Rye Lions are grateful to Bournes for allowing the boxes to be stored in their warehouse at Rye Harbour and to John Roberts and Sons of Iden for the loan of a large van to transport the boxes from Rye to Queenborough. The lorries will be leaving the UK in the next week for Belarus, escorted by Lions to try and ease their passage through several border controls and customs.
Judy has already started on next year’s consignment and has already filled several boxes. If anyone wishes to donate unwanted items in reasonable condition, they should contact Judy on 01791 230380.