Last year our Area Coordinator for England & Wales, Peter Barton, was contacted by corporate clothing firm Rowlinsons of Stockport. They had several thousand assorted sweatshirts and cardigans that were ‘seconds’ due to the fact that the colour was not quite right for their clients, and they wanted to donate them to charities who were working outside the UK. They wanted to know if we could use 500 or so for our work in Albania – the only stipulation was that they were not be to resold anywhere. Of course we said ‘Yes Please’. And Peter duly collected them in 8 boxes (it is amazing what you can fit into a Ford Focus when you put your mind to it!) and stored them until such time as we could organise to get them to Albania.
Enquiries about the best ways to transport them were ongoing when, earlier this year, our contact at Rowlinsons, Daniel Chan, got in touch again to say they had about 1100 more if we were able to use them. Again we were delighted to say ‘Yes Please’, and Peter set about arranging to pick them up.
This consignment was a little big for his loft, so he approached Dawn & Peter Ritchie, who are AAC Local Reps and who pastor a Church in Pensby, Wirral. The church are great supporters of the work of Living Water Adopt-A-Child and immediately agreed to help, arranging transport and storage for the 36 boxes of sweatshirts, cardigans and joggers that Rowlinsons so generously donated.
Work then began in earnest to get them to Albania as economically as possible and with the minimum of import tax to pay at the border when they got there – a long and complicated task which has taken Peter and our team in Albania many months and many forms to complete.
We are delighted to say that these clothing items (around 1600 altogether) have now traveled across Europe and have arrived safely at our Ministry base in Pogradec, Albania, just in time to be given to the children and their families along with their Christmas gifts – we are sure there will be something to fit everyone in one of the 42 boxes. Winters are very cold in the mountain villages where we work in Albania and these sweatshirts and cardigans will be a real blessing to the youngsters and their families this winter.
We want to say a big THANK YOU to Daniel Chan and the folks at Rowlinsons for donating all these items and for making it possible for us to help the children in this way. Thank also to Peter Barton, Peter & Dawn Ritchie and their Church and the team in Albania for taking on the mammoth task of getting them to Albania. We know all your efforts will be very much appreciated by everyone who receives a piece of the clothing.