Few of us can fail to have been touched in recent weeks by the plight of the migrants risking life and limb fleeing their home nations in an effort to find a safe haven on European soil.
Each day we have opened a newspaper or listened to broadcast news telling us of the latest wave of humanity flooding into central Europe from countries including war-torn Syria.
As time wore on and our own country stood firm with their less-than-generous immigration policy, it was too easy to say this faceless mass of humanity was not our concern; it was someone else’s problem and we did our best to believe that Germany alone with their altruistic vision could fix this crisis single-handedly.
And then came September 2 when across the globe pictures flooded into our homes of little Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned along with his brother and mother whilst attempting to reach central Europe from Turkey.
Little Aylan was not the first to die, nor will he be the last but that heart-wrenching image of a policeman carrying his tiny lifeless body on the beach within a split second condensed the crisis of hundreds of thousands into one innocent child who could easily have been our own son, our grandchild, our baby.
Shocking though it was, the majority of us only empathised, shook our heads in sadness and then, with heavier hearts, got back to the business of living; supporting our own families and getting on with our own mundane tasks that distract us from dwelling too long on a problem bigger than we know how to fix.
But not Tori Lloyd. Watching the horrifying news report that evening at home in Helensburgh, the single-mum decided she had to something, anything to help her fellow humans who were literally dying to find a better life in Europe.
Well aware of the bottleneck of migrants camped at Calais in France awaiting settlement in the UK, Tori decided she would attempt to gather supplies – clothing, camping equipment, toiletries – to send to these families to ease their lives whilst they were in limbo.
Harnessing the power of social media, Tori set about galvanising support and appealing for donations throughout Dumbarton, the Vale and Lomond area.
Sadly, as the days passed, Tori had barely a handful of offers and was on the cusp of closing down the appeal when our own general manager Lauren Moffatt stepped in and offered to boost the campaign via our own extensive Facebook links and to use the hotel as a collection hub.
Very quickly the donations started rolling in and within days Lauren had amassed over 250 bags – worth an estimated £7500 – and filled with essential living items, including nappies for babies, sleeping bags, waterproofs, tents, clothing and toiletries.
Last week the first of three deliveries from the Dumbarton area arrived at the London HQ of CalAid, a migrant support centre which will distribute the aid in Europe.
Tori admits she was overwhelmed by the response.
“I am hugely grateful to the Dumbuck for backing our campaign. Of the 300 plus bags we have over 250 came from the Dumbuck.
“If it hadn’t been for them our campaign would have folded very quickly.
“They got behind us and made this happen. It is humbling to see what we can do when we need to.”
Lauren, who recently took up the reins as the new general manager at the historic Glasgow Road hotel, was keen to use the hotel as an asset for such a heart-felt community campaign.
“I grew up in Dumbarton and I know how generous and caring our town can be. I’m very grateful for their support and I’m proud of the compassion they have shown.”
The hotel is currently in the final stretch of a year-long campaign to raise £5000 for Marie Curie, the charity that provides free professional nursing care at home to individuals with a range of terminal conditions, including cancer.
The target – which should be met by December – will directly fund 250 hours of high quality hands on nursing care in our own postcode area.