HEARTBROKEN by the pictures and videos coming out of Palestine, a local business woman has set up an emergency aid station in the back room of her shop.

Theresa Armstrong's shop at Slievegallion Drive, Andersonstown
Theresa Armstrong’s shop at Slievegallion Drive, Andersonstown

Forty two year-old Theresa Armstrong from Twinbrook now owns the bakery she has worked in for the past 18 years at Slievegallion Drive in the Upper Andersonstown area.

Discussing with her parents, the devastating attacks by Israel – they mentioned knowing a woman who was going to Gaza with a flotilla of shipping containers next month.

Theresa knew she wanted to help the Palestinian people and had the spare room at the back of her shop to store any donations from friends and family.

Through the power of social media, she has been successful in gaining the attention of people in Belfast who also wanted to donate clothing and children’s toys to Gaza because they too are distressed by the images of genocide.

Theresa has researched the type of  items that will be acceptable to put in the containers and the problems that may arise from unsuitable donations. She said: “The doctors and nurses will be getting any of the donated adults bikes as they need them to get to and from the hospitals. We need bicycle pumps and puncture repair kits as these items cannot be bought over there. Any kids toys need to have the batteries removed. If anyone has a pram or buggy they want to donate, that would be helpful too. Any clothes that are see through or revealing will be weighed and sold to Cash for Clothes, then we will use the money to buy basic toys from the pound shops. All kinds of clothes and shoes are needed as these people have been left with nothing.”

Israel has said it is acting in self defence. Rockets have been fired from Palestine and in return, Israel is dropping cancer inducing bombs on civilian homes and hospitals in Gaza. The current number of deaths in Israel is zero, while there are have been 174 Palestinians, mostly children killed in six days of intense bombing this week. The mainstream media are reporting the fighting as a war, but Palestine has no army or naval war ships to fight back.

Theresa’s bakery will be open from Wednesday 16th July at 9.30am to 2.30pm and will continue to accept donations every Monday to Saturday during the hours of 9.30am – 2.30pm until mid August 2014.

Theresa has been overwhelmed by the response she has had by people wanting to donate and is worried about not having enough space. She is calling for community centres and activists to pull together and offer any empty rooms they have to store bulky donations such as bikes and prams.

Anyone unable to donate physical items can send money to the campaign through GAZA TOY DRIVE.