Burnley kindness for Afghan refugees shines through

The people of Burnley and surrounding towns opened up their hearts and generosity in the face of the plight of the Afghan people who have been forced to flee from their homes in recent weeks.

The Catholic Salford Diocese engaged with the Burnley Parish of the Good Samaritan to help.

The parish has worked closely for years with the local specialist refugee charity New Neighbours Together and they jointly raised an appeal. They asked for specified goods to meet the immediate needs of the people housed in Manchester hotels, awaiting allocation to housing in North West boroughs.

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Parishioner and volunteer Frank McNamara said: "The response was astounding! We set aside two sessions, five hours, for people to drop their donations off. We were overwhelmed. The people who came were from all walks of life, individuals from all communities, churches, mosques, several charities, several schools.

Some of the donated goods

"The church hall went from zero to bursting in those five hours. Three long rows of tables piled chest-high, and an overspill across much of the floor. Hundreds and hundreds of items, all bagged and labelled."

A team of volunteers from the parish and New Neighbours Together set everything up, ran the sessions, and loaded the goods for their delivery to the depot in Manchester. Three local organisations provided the offers of transport.

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Frank added: "All through the people who came were so positive and helpful, often offering continued help, and all wanting to convey their good wishes for the people they were helping.

"But the greatest gift that all of the people brought was their kindness, generosity, their loving care and concern for people in need. They opened their hearts and their hands to reach out to care for their fellow humans in need."