By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS charity is handing out 300 school uniforms to needy families ahead of the start of the new school term on Monday.
Some 250 uniforms have already been allocated and 50 are still available.
The initiative is being made possible by the cooperation of Solidarity charity, Pavlina’s children’s clothing store and a donation of €900 from USB bank.
Solidarity was set up in 2012 and helps all those in need, of any nationality or background. The charity is currently feeding in excess of 900 families in the district, providing them with the basic essentials and whatever other food is donated.
Pavlina Patsalou heads up the Paphos-based charity along with George Sofokleous. She also owns a clothing store which is involved in the scheme.
“The uniforms are for both boys and girls aged between 6-17 years and it includes everything they need. We have 50 left, so any families in need of help are invited to get in touch,” she said.
Uniforms can be collected from Patsalou’s store which is staying open all day over the weekend to facilitate any requests. She said the charity was grateful to USB bank for the sizeable donation. In addition to the uniforms, Patsalou has selected various quality children’s clothes from her store which will be on special offer over the weekend, priced between €1-€3.
The charity is also appealing to the public to donate exercise books, pens, pencils, rubbers, pencil cases and other school necessities this weekend.
Unemployment numbers in Paphos are high and many are now turning to churches, associations and charities such as Solidarity to eat. Without this support they would go hungry.
“Many families are finding it impossible to feed themselves let alone find money for new uniforms and we wanted to do something to help,” Patsalou said.
The charity also goes out of its way to help individuals and families who don’t meet the criteria for aid from welfare.
Patsalou said that the dire situation was being compounded by changes to the welfare system.
“People are only being given coupons now and so increasing number are coming to us for help,” she said.
She added that along with weekly food parcels they give to families on their expanding list, they are also handing out free bread and milk on a daily basis.
“It’s not much but at least they will have something to eat every day,”
Solidarity has a dedicated supermarket point’s card to which shoppers can donate their bonus points. These points are currently being cashed in by the charity to purchase items for babies, said Patsalou.
Donations may be taken to Patsalou’s shop, any of the drop-off points listed on the website www.solidaritypaphos.com , or the Solidarity house in Paphos with prior arrangement.
For further information or to help, call Pavlina Patsalou on 99220152.