Joy in a Box
Romanian Aid Foundation
Much is happening at RoAF and we are aware that sometimes we have not
been very good at keeping all our supporters informed, so here's an
attempt to keep everyone up to date. So far, this has been a challenging
year, which has meant a lot of change, but some things never change. The
need for aid amongst the poorest in Dorohoi is as great as ever and I am
pleased to report that the five full loads we have sent so far this year
have been skilfully used by Beni and his team.
The first snow in Romania for the coming season was reported on 30th
August!! There is likely to be a warmer spell before the real
winter comes but this does act as a reminder. If you are
thinking of treating yourself to a new winter outfit then we know
someone who could use the old one. Check out our list of Priority
Items elsewhere on the site.
At the beginning of this year, the trustees at RoAF changed. The new trustees
are Chris Edmonds, Steve Humphreys and Jane Inman.
Both Steve and Jane are well known to most of you, both live in Horley and have
been involved in the work of RoAF for several years. Steve has been the central
player, most of the day to day responsibility of making RoAF happen have fallen
in his lap, that is except when he is in Romania visiting Beni and our other
workers in Dorohoi. Chris lives in Pontardawe, South Wales, with his wife but he
is frequently in the Horley area for business. Many, many years ago when they
lived in Horley they were part of Horley Baptist Church and so are old friends
of Steve and Peter and Lesley and many others.
The last newsletter showed pictures of our temporary storage facility in
Smallfield. This is working out much better than originally envisaged. We rent
two ground floor rooms totalling 280 ft2 which is inadequate for our needs but
the miraculously good news is the use of the roof space which the owner allows
us to us free of charge, this extra 400ft2 gives us enough space to store well
over a complete load. Although this current arrangement in Smallfield is meeting
our needs, we are still looking at alternative accommodation as it would be
better to be located in Horley, it would be better if we could sort and pack on
site, it would be better if we only paid a peppercorn rent, but the good news is
that after the traumas of exiting the warehouse in Salfords, we do have
stability and since our Smallfield home has grown in proportions we do have
RoAF goes national
Supporters have saved, sorted and packed for RoAF from all over the UK for
years; the number of towns and villages that have a RoAF presence has included
Northern Ireland, Cannock, Bracknell, villages in Essex, Isle of Man,
Lossiemouth Scotland etc. Apologies to you if I have inadvertently excluded you;
but now we have storage facilities elsewhere as well.
In Lampeter, South Wales, Richard and Linda Burgess have acquired a redundant
artic trailer and are using it to store aid as it is packed by the RoAF team in
Lampeter. This is particularly useful because at times, aid has to be collected
and stored immediately and with the loss of the Salfords depot we were not sure
how this could work in the future. Problem solved. Perhaps in the future we may
see other packing and storing centres springing up in other parts.
Richardís 25th trip to
In May, Richard Burgess, who drove our first lorry to Dorohoi in 1992, made
his 25th trip with aid. The following is a cutting from his local Lampeter
Temple Barís Richard Burgess has embarked on a gruelling 5,000-mile
journey to Romania, to deliver humanitarian aid collected by a local church to
the small town of Dorohoi. The journey has become a regular trip for Mr Burgess,
who is completing his 25th trip to Dorohoi since the Emmaus Fellowship Church
began collecting aid in 1992. He said "The people in the Lampeter area are
very supportive of our charity, the Romanian Aid Foundation, and help to make
these missions possible by giving a variety of aid. Our church helps to finance
the trips, with each one costing around £2,000 for all the things involved.
Poverty is still a very real issue in this remote area of Eastern Europe where
unemployment is in excess of 85 per cent and the only industry is agriculture,
so the need is just as great as in 1992 when I made my first visit."
The links between the Lampeter Church and the Dorohoi Baptist Church have
seen the much-needed aid taken to the area over 14 years, as well as the
employment of a full-time worker who helps distribute the aid and run projects
in the area.
The aid includes a variety of clothing, blankets, duvets, food and medical
supplies, toys and computer and school equipment which filled the 40-tonne
articulated lorry from Preston. Richard left on Tuesday for Romania but when he
returns he will not be sitting on his laurels, with planning already under way
for another trip in the autumn to deliver shoeboxes to the families in Dorohoi
in time for Christmas.
AN Shop Refurbishment
In late May this year, the AN shop underwent a complete refurbishment. For
supporters new to RoAF, the aid sent out to Romania is first sorted, the major
part is distributed by Beni and his team to the most needy in Dorohoi. The minor
part is offered for sale at the AN charity shop. The revenue from the shop pays
all the running costs of the AN organisation, this includes the wages of 7
people including Beni, who otherwise would be unemployed.
Concern was expressed while the shop was closed that the regular clientele
might drift away, however we are pleased to report that takings in the shop on
reopening were much higher than before and have remained at this new high level.
Here are some shop pictures.
in a Box
Don't forget that now is the time to
be working hard with our Joy in a Box appeal. Full details are on the web,
www.roafan.org. Completed shoeboxes (together with £1/box donation) can be
forwarded to Horley or Lampeter.
In previous years we have managed
between 500 and 900 shoeboxes, can we make a special effort to see if we can
make it 1000 this year.
Beni and Steve have many an emotional
story to tell about their experiences with the distribution of the gift boxes -
the joy and sense of hope they bring to those without hope cannot be adequately
put down on paper, except to say that every one makes a big difference to a
If you want further information about the gift box scheme then
please see our website at www.roafan.org.
We don't like saying this, but our biggest on going need is money. It costs
around £1,900 to send a full load to Dorohoi, and over 80% of the money raised
goes towards transport. The need is always there, so is the aid, the more we can
raise the more we can send. In June we declined an offer of several classrooms
of furniture, furniture desperately needed in Dorohoi, because we had
insufficient funds to commit to another trailer so soon after the May
It has been noticeable that through this time of change and uncertainty
caused by the loss of the Salfords depot, that giving to RoAF has declined by
nearly 30%, this together with the extra costs of renting in Smallfield means we
are close to restricting normal deliveries while we wait for finance. Please
consider carefully your response, we sent 8 loads in 2005, but it will be less
this year, please help us get back up to where we were last year, the needs in
Dorohoi are not going away.
good times together
The 2006 RoAF Duck Race took place on
the River Mole on Saturday 17th June. All the ducks were sponsored and
over £500 was raised to help with the distribution of aid in northern
Romania. Many thanks to those who helped make the event such a success,
plus congratulations to George and Annette Didon who won dinner for
two at the Six Bells. The 2007 Duck Race is
planned for Saturday 16th June.
Hickman Jazz Quintet features Dennis Hickman at
the piano and Des Ward as vocalist. The group gave a wonderful
concert at Oakwood School in May, which set many a foot tapping in the
hall. Proceeds from the evening have been used to help with the
costs of transporting aid to Romania.
The annual harp concert by Keziah Thomas, the highly skilled London harpist,
will be held on Saturday 25th November at St Francis's Church, Balcombe Road,
This is always a delightful evening - the programme is due to start at 6:00
pm and this year it will include a light buffet during the interval.
This newsletter is published on behalf of the
Romanian Aid Foundation and Asociatia Neemia. For further
information or to be added to the newsletter mailing list please use
our response page or write to us using the
contact details below:
The Romanian Aid
179 Albert Road,
Horley, Surrey RH6 7HS, UK;
Aid Foundation is UK Registered Charity No. 1060828.
Spiru Haret nr 9, Dorohoi, Botosani 6850, Romania.
0231 610059; email: Beni_@_roaf.org
This newsletter is
Romanian Aid Foundation, September 2006.
Link to previous
newsletter: Spring 2006