The Great Sort

Posted by Kathryn
The end!

Friday was the day that we tackled the donation mountain in our Charente hub to pull out the important items for Calais and Iraq…

Several trailers and cars full of a variety of donations have been delivered to Roni’s in Cellefrouin. One large trailer and car full has already been taken north to Ailsa in 53 for onward distribution to Calais which included gems such as a working generator, tents, sleeping bags and duvets. Clothes have been kept in Charente to sort and box before shipping to their final destination –  keeping these in Charente also allows us to transfer south if there is a need as well as eastwards.

So what did we learn from the day?

Starting with a cup of tea!

Starting with a cup of tea!

Volunteer refreshments on tap all day made for happy volunteers!

Plenty of space is required.  We chose to sort into Mens, Womens , Childrens, Household and Inappropriate (for the moment). Quickly we ended up with a range of mountains:

The mountain range mid morning.

The mountain range mid morning.

Next we focussed on the menswear and sorted this into shoes / trousers / coats etc. These were then sorted into sizes (S/M/L) and boxed. Shoes were joined in pairs and later sorted into sizes.

At this stage, it is essential that quality control takes place. Torn and stained items were discarded as were all summer items,  and all zips tried. Boxes were labelled on top and sides before a final check of contents was made and the box sealed.

Sorted donations ready for transport to Calais.

Sorted donations ready for transport to Calais.

During the day, more donations were delivered which meant our piles never seemed to get smaller! At 5pm, we packed the trailer and cars and returned the unsorted bags to one side of the room ready for the next sorting day.

The end!

The end!

What did we learn? Next time, we will have more boxes pre-labelled in the centre of the room and a better briefing beforehand of what is acceptable and what is not. 6 rolls of parcel tape is the minimum requirement along with plenty of markers and wear clothes suitable for climbing over piles of donations!

And for the donors? Please do not send items that cannot possibly be used. This is not a time to empty the cupboards of the items you no longer want. The highlights of our day were:

Pearl barley – best before 2008 (and the bag split!)

Cream – 8 months out of date

Shoes whose soles had parted company a long time ago.

Roll on the next sorting day – we will clear the mountain!

Sorted items delivered for onward shipment to Iraq.

Some of the sorted items delivered for onward shipment to Iraq.