Its a busy time for us here at NPLH, so I thought this would be a good time for an update!

Thanks to volunteers Matt and Allie, we sorted all the donations (at least 15 boxes and 8 garbage bags full!) to prepare them for packing last weekend. At the same time, we’re getting ready to pack another shipment to Ritsona Camp. I leave for Greece in less than two weeks, and we have a little over $4,000 to go to meet our goal. Thanks to those of you who have donated already!

The Plan:
My travel plans are set.  While Stephanie and Tina remain in Atlanta to keep things moving on the home front, I’ll be hitting 2 locations in Greece.  First, I’ll be working with some other organizations to distribute winter clothing near Thessaloniki (near the Northern border of Greece).  This distribution actually includes clothing you donated that we shipped out.  It’ll be great to be able to personally put your donations in camp residents’ hands.

After that, I’m headed back down to the Athens area, where I’ll work at an all Afghan camp, doing whatever it is they need help with!  More on the demographics of the refugee crisis in Greece in another post, I promise.  There’s a lot to chew on there.

Where will the cash go?:
So, what will I do with the money that’s donated? That depends partially on how much we collect, and partially on what’s needed an what opportunities pop up while I’m in Greece. I’ll buy items and donate to a camp, or if the opportunity avails itself, I’ll buy items and distribute on the streets and to the squats in Athens. Obviously, the more money we collect, the more options we have.

A note about the 5K goal: 
Although our purchases will be focused on one camp and/or a small area of Athens, its important to understand that there are more than 30 “formal” or Government camps across Greece.  That number doesn’t include the informal camps and squats (abandoned schools and hotels).  Each camp houses 400 to about 2800 people. The camps I’m visiting house over 1000 people each.  So, imagine me saying, “I’d like to help you out.  Here are 50 coats.”  Of course, if that’s all we can buy, we’ll do it.  And, they’ll gladly take them.  However, as you can imagine, it would leave a lot of people still in need. Even the squats house a few hundred residents each. The squats are supported 100% by independent volunteers and grassroots orgs, and in camps, clothing is typically provided 100% by smaller NGO’s – the ones we partner with.  I can’t imagine being a camp or squat manager trying to figure out who gets what when there isn’t enough for everyone.

How you can help:
As we enter the giving season, please keep sharing our story with your friends and loved ones.  A lot of people are looking for ways to make a positive impact right now.  We’re happy to provide that opportunity.  And, if you want to volunteer time or services, just let us know.  There are plenty of ways to help.

Cheers, and peace to all.