(Press release) The Jimena Solidarity Project started the new year by donating over 1000 kilos of clothing and other items to the La Línea branch of Asociación Betel, a national NGO dedicated to 'the recovery of destroyed lives' (photo). This is the first of this year's such event, from a group of volunteers who have only been doing the work for little more than a year. The items donated, aside from clothing, consisted also of shoes, toys and baby items such as prams, cots, playpens and such, among others.>
The Jimena Solidarity Project began simply as a clothes bank where we could leave unused clothing rather than throwing it away, to be distributed among families in need among local residents (see our item here). Little by little, its original horizon has widened to include not only shoes and clothing but also bed clothes, baby items and even toys.
The project's seven volunteers get together two or three times a week at the Reina Sofía Cultural Centre to sort the items out. Part of the work consists of washing, ironing and often sewing or repairing things, much of which is carried out unstintingly in their free time by the volunteers at home. From there, items separated into lots are stored at a space offered by the parish at the Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles Sanctuary, prior toi distribution.
Although the project was born as a way to cover the needs of local families, response by donors has been almost overwhelming, so the decision was taken to expand distribution among other such associations in the Campo de Gibraltar and even as far as Jerez. Among these associations are Madre Coraje (national and international), ADRA (national and international agency for development and resources), Victoria Kent (women victim's association, national), parishes in Algeciras and the Red Cross's Attention to Immigrants Unit.
The project has also developed some curious initiatives, such as 'lots for pregnancies' that consist of clothing, shoes, etc. packaged individually and ready to be given to pregnant women without financial resources. The lots include baby items as mentioned before, and they have sometimes been taken directly to the hospital shortly after a baby is born.
Over the run up to last Christmas the volunteers also took part in a food collection drive, as well as one collecting toys, both of which went under the auspices of Jimena Council and Cáritas, the Church charity.