Last Friday just before the fifth weekend of our lockdown a pipe burst in the basement of the Fundacion Allen Graham Charity 4 Kids shop in Cas Catala. By the time the leak was discovered it was so bad that the fire brigade had to be summoned to pump out the water which was knee high.
All of the shop’s donated stock which was stored in the basement has been destroyed.
The President, Rosemary Graham, sent me these sad photos on Saturday, and I hope you agree that we will have to pull together as a community to help the charity get back on its feet. They will need donations to restock the shop as soon as they can reopen after the lockdown is lifted.
Rosemary was initially told by the police that she would have to get Council Workers to help her clear out the shop, but after some negotiation she was able to get permission for three of the young people who've grown up with the support of the organisation to come to help her.
“The three young people helping us are Eduardo, Dombeya and Sandra. We supported them when they left the Children’s Home, we (with help from the general public) paid for their accommodation, upkeep and studies. They all have good steady jobs and are able to support themselves. We are delighted that they have come to help us to say thank you for all we have done for them in the past.”
The late Allen Graham started helping children in homes every year when he founded the Salvation Army in Majorca in 1992. The Foundation was formed in 2010 to be able to expand and help many more young people. However you might be surprised to read that the Foundation has to pay tax on its earnings as there is no such thing as a “Charity Commission” in Spain.
“Our outgoings are high, we pay rent on the shop in Ca's Catala and the double locale in Puerto Pollensa. We also pay to rent an apartment in Palma for the young people in our Emancipation Project, who were all finishing their studies and were just about to start work when the lockdown happened. We are also in the process of interviewing young adults who are living in the Children’s Homes who are about to have to leave and will be trying to start their adult lives and pursue a career but have no family and will have nowhere to live”.
The lockdown has affected their ability to be in contact with the children and young people that they would normally be supporting, but Rosemary is hopeful that soon they will be able to restart their activities.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported our efforts over the years up until now. Because of lockdown we were unable to deliver Easter Eggs to the Children’s Homes this Easter.
Nice Price gives us a very special price for the eggs and they have them ready to pick up for when we can get there.
Another event that has been postponed is International Book Day. Every year we invite all the children from the 29 Children’s Care Homes in Majorca to buy a new book of their choice, and we hope to be able do this again as soon as it is possible”.
Of course, none of this work is able to happen without the income from the Charity Shops and other fundraising activities and donations. As soon as the word got out that the shop had been flooded the public started leaving donations outside the door.
“Please don’t leave us donations yet”, Rosemary told me, “We have nowhere to put them yet AND you shouldn’t be out delivering them anyway! Please wait until we can be open officially and we can receive them properly. Please DON’T leave the donations outside of a closed door”.
Rosemary says that they will put up a notification on their Facebook page when they are able to receive donations again.
Another thing that Rosemary is too polite to mention is this, and I can write it because you need to know: please don’t use any charity shop as a “dumping ground”, don’t donate rubbish, or dirty or broken items or clothing. Every charity that has a second hand shop has the same problem which is the huge amount of time that goes into sorting out the saleable items from the unpleasant, smelly and dirty things which should really have gone to the recycling centre instead.
But if you are planning on a declutter during lockdown then please keep in mind the Allen Graham Charity and indeed any other charity you want to support as well. And take them quality items which they can sell to others and make some money to help the people who need their help.
Contact them via email on: email@example.com and see their website www.agrahamcharity.org