You get up in the morning, get ready and run out of the house to catch the train to go to work, you get there and you complain to your colleagues about not getting enough sleep yet again. You’re having a bad day because you didn’t have time in the morning to sit down with a cup of coffee before having to run out of the house. When home time comes you get the train back, and you complain about being too tired to cook dinner or do the chores.
You are so stuck in your day to day routine that you forget to stop and look around you and notice those who have it so much worse than you do.
We don’t appreciate that what we have is what many people can only dream about.
There are people who can’t even afford a warming cup of coffee during cold nights, which they must spend sleeping on a cold concrete floor outside a shopping centre or train station. Those are the people you don’t hear complaining, and many of them are hugely appreciative of the littlest thing. This man you are passing every day at the train station? You could make his day with a sandwich or a cup of tea.
Kate Shove and Ella Page are two of the few people who care enough to go out of their way to help. I had the pleasure of speaking to Kate about what they’re doing to help the homeless.
“The idea came initially from just walking past one man who is homeless on my route to uni. His name is Mark and I never had any change so felt bad walking past each day so thought a larger Christmas present would help more. I mentioned it in passing to my friend Ella Page and she was thinking of doing a similar thing so we teamed up to make a bigger effort and help as many people as possible”
Last Christmas they set up a fund-raising page to raise money for care packages for the homeless.
“We included as much as we could from a few toiletries including tooth brush and tooth paste and other items, but importantly baby wipes, if you can’t get access to a shower but still want to look presentable or feel cleaner; warm layers: hat, 2 pairs of gloves and 2 pairs of socks, a t-shirt, underwear; some fresh fruit, water, and a Terry’s chocolate orange”
They wanted to make the packages functional but still be a genuine Christmas present. They got ideas of what to put in the packages from Mark. They want to do even more next year by adding trousers to the packages.
The cost of each package is £20-25 per package and these young women made up 20 packages from the £500 they raised. This Christmas they are planning on doing the same – only more of it:
“… this year I’m hoping to be able to raise more money and do the same again or perhaps even tie it in with a Christmas dinner event but it’s definitely something I feel passionately about and want to continue to be aware of helping people who need it.”
You don’t have to wait until Christmas to help, though. Homeless people are there all over the year, whatever the season or weather and they need your help. Don’t be indifferent. Don’t fall victim to prejudice against people who live on the streets. There’s nothing wrong with talking to them or asking about their story. It really doesn’t take much to end up in their situation – miss a pay cheque or two and it could be you.
“I think the best way to help is just to say hello, ask how their day is, don’t just walk past avoiding eye contact. Start with buying an extra cup of tea when it’s raining and give it to someone who needs warming up. On a bad day that could make a big difference.”
Some charities that you could donate to are:
Or why not start up your own campaign and raise the money yourself? Try http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ or https://www.justgiving.com/.
All Photos by Lauren Chancellor