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Humanitarian aid overwhelms West Kensington Churches as Britain responds to Grenfell Tower tragedy


On Wednesday 14th June 2017 Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association and Joel Kyari visited St John's Church in Notting Hill to deliver groceries and bibles to help the survivors of the Grenfell Tower blaze. Later the two of them volunteered to carry water bottles to Rugby Portobello on Clarendon Road and helped with organizing the large number of donated items that were flowing in.  

At approximately 12:05 earlier the same day a tragic accident led to Britain's largest ever tower block fire in which so far 12 people have been confirmed dead - the death toll is expected to rise significantly yet.  As soon as Mr Chowdhry heard about the incident which was around 1am he drove to the incident site to offer what help he could and shared bottles of water he brought with him, whilst providing a listening ear to many panicked individuals. Mr Chowdhry later returned home and slept for only a few hours before waking and convincing BPCA trustees to initiate an appeal for the beleaguered victims.

Mr Kyari and Mr Chowdhry were amazed at the hundreds of people who filled Clarendon Road by the evening - all desperate to help in any little way they could.

Cars filled with donations and people carrying bags were everywhere, people had come from as far afield as Leicester to provide help. People of all faiths were working together without any real management but with amazing natural coordination in what was a testimony of the good that can exist within humankind.

Several churches had to refuse any further donations due to being overwhelmed in the first few hours and cash donations are now being sought as an alternative to gifts, due to limited capacity for storage and manpower.

Earlier in the day Mr Chowdhry also obtained some bibles form the Gideons Society hoping to share them with individuals who may lost their own in the fire, or wanted to seek solace in the comforting words of God.  However access to victims was not possible so Mr Chowdhry distributed some at several church locations points and was advise that the bible would be offered to victims.  Apparently requests for bibles had been made to several churches and the bibles were received well by churches.

Wilson Chowdhry, said:

"The compassion showed by so many diverse people was simply inspiring. Even a local black taxi driver waived his fee when he realised we were transporting donations and were volunteering.

"volunteers and donors travelled far and short distances to help, some had stayed the whole day. Churches and community centres had provided temporary shelter until the council moved displaced families into temporary bed and breakfasts and hotels.  Many were later acting as collection points for donations coordinating with the local council where possible.

"There was a wonderful sense of togetherness amongst all the volunteers and visitors - what a shame it took a disaster to develop the strong cohesion. I pray that 

Tomorrow we will be returning to West Kensington to help with the dire need for volunteers.

Churches and community groups are no longer taking physical donations for the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze. This is a logistical decision based on a lack of capacity to cope with the amazing generosity of British people. Churches are all now calling for cash donations and one way to donate is to channel donations through the British Pakistani Christian Association. If you wish to donate towards the resettlement and restoration of the lives of victims please (click here)

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