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Churches collect for Calais migrants

by Hannah Tooley

A number of local churches have banded together to make donations to the people living in an area of Calais known as 'The Jungle'.

Our Lady and St Joseph in Hanwell, west London, and St Mellitus' Church in Tollington Park, north London, as well as Kent-based Christian charity Seeking Sanctuary, are coordinating donations.

They have organised to take goods to a warehouse where they'll be taken to a French Catholic charity's warehouse in Calais.

Westminster's Justice and Peace Commission has encouraged other parishes to organise themselves by area or deanery, but are still searching for a bigger space to serve as a depot, and offers of transport.

Ben Bano, who leads Seeking Sanctuary, told The Tablet: "We feel a very strong calling to show solidarity with the migrants, and to show them that the Church cares."

The charity says it needs small-sized jeans (32" or 34" waist), trainers, sleeping bags, blankets, toiletries for men and women, games, books (especially religious books including the Qu'ran and Bible), and cooking utensils.

The Bishop's Conference of England and Wales has also said it will be making a physical contribution to aid efforts, and discussing the situation with French bishops and NGOs respectively.

The Catholic Bishop for Migrants, Patrick Lynch, said: "We must examine as a matter of urgency the arms trade that fuels armed conflict and civil war, climate change, unjust economic policies, poverty and corruption as some of the underlying causes of this fundamental global trend.

"The safety of vulnerable women and children who may fall prey to smugglers and human traffickers is paramount and must be addressed."

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