Responding to the Afghan refugee crisis with Amazon
At Amazon, we’re proud to be supporting charities and the public sector in responding to the Afghan refugee crisis. Across our business, Amazon teams have come together to accelerate both emergency relief and ongoing support for Afghan refugees who are settling in the UK.
Working with VCS Emergencies Partnership (VCSEP) and Care4Calais, Amazon has provided pro bono transportation, logistics advice and a £50,000 cash donation. Amazon has also donated use of warehouse space which will be used as a central UK hub for the storage and sorting of clothes and essential goods donations from the British public.
Beth Knight, Amazon in the Community, Europe Lead, said: “It’s so inspiring to see how quickly Amazon and our military veterans have stepped-up to use their expertise in providing much needed support for Afghan refugees as they begin their new lives in the UK. I couldn’t be prouder of the impact they’ve had in amplifying the crucial work of VCSEP and Care4Calais.”
Collaborating with VCS Emergencies Partnership
Amazon Logistics’ Community Operations used its expertise and technology to help transfer donated clothing items for VCSEP, a coalition of over 250 organisations across England made up of local voluntary and community groups and national organisations.
Working alongside our Delivery Service Partners, Amazon Programme Managers Elise Kidd and Anya Shahnazari supported the transportation of donated items to one of our fulfilment centres for packing and distribution to those most in need.
Anya Shahnazari said: “It’s been a privilege to lead this initiative which brought together support efforts from Amazon Logistics, our Delivery Service Partners and charity partners to maximise our impact for vulnerable refugees. Migration has played an important role in my own life as an Armenian, born in Sweden, raised in the UK, and with both Iranian and Syrian heritage in my family. Personally, and professionally, I’m committed to helping others through this refugee crisis.”
Jeremy Hurst, National Afghan Aid Co-ordinator for VCSEP, said: “Over a single weekend, Amazon helped us move several van loads of donations, which means that many families will be able to receive an invaluable supply of warm clothing as the weather turns colder.”
Jeremy also thanked the team for going above and beyond: “They also helped us solve a flash regional situation which was taking my eye off the longer-term challenges that we face. Their swift action helped to maintain goodwill within the initial quarantine hotels, which will continue to be critical as this crisis evolves. From small acorns, mighty oak trees grow! Thank you for your continued support. You did a good thing here and we are grateful to you all.”
Additional support to help Afghan refugees
Amazon has made other donations to VCSEP to support the crisis, including a £50,000 cash donation to help with distributing essential goods donated. The essentials donated will go to Afghan refugees in temporary housing across the country.
Amazon has also provided much-needed warehouse space to VCSEP within our fulfilment centre network. Our Amazon site in the Midlands is acting as a central hub for the storage and sorting of donations. This donation involves approximately 5,000 square feet of space in a modern, premium warehouse environment, which VCSEP can use free of charge in their response to the crisis.
Our teams are also donating their time, with charity partners receiving expert advisory support on logistics. Our military veterans are partnering with RE:ACT, a charity that seeks to put ex-military staff into emergency volunteer roles, to help staff the warehouse.
Stepping in to support Care4Calais
In addition, Amazon is partnering with Care4Calais through its Community Operations team. Care4Calais is a volunteer-run charity providing essential items for Afghan refugees resettling in the UK.
“Our work with Care4Calais started with a conversation,” Anya explains, “when their volunteers flagged limited capacity, challenges with local businesses overwhelmed by an influx of donations, and a lack of transportation to ensure donated stock could be distributed to warehouses, sorted and delivered.”
“We stepped in to facilitate deliveries to sites around the UK, with products including women and children’s clothing, winter coats, hygiene products and more,” she adds.
Anya, Elise and the wider team have so far supported Amazon deliveries, including more than 1,000 bags of donated goods and approximately 25,000 items of clothing transported in a single week.
Care4Calais shared their thanks on social media: “In the last few weeks we have delivered thousands of essential items to Afghan refugees all over the UK. Thank you, Amazon, we have talked to many Afghan refugees this week, and we know what a huge difference your support has made.”
If you’re interested in donating items, Care4Calais has published a list of in-demand products including mobile phones, winter clothes, food and baby products.
Find out more about how Amazon supports local communities.