Homeless collection

Helping Adelaide’s Homeless

Last winter, as my partner and I drove to work, we noticed a man sleeping on the steps of Her Majesty’s Theatre. Then, each day as we drove past the same spot we continued to noticed him asleep on the steps.

It was particularly cold last winter in Adelaide and we were concerned about his wellbeing, so we went to Kmart to see what we could buy him to try and keep him warm. Armed with a budget of $15 to get him some warm clothes, we ended up buying up a jumper, a beanie, warm socks, gloves and a scarf, along with some chocolates.

While we were at Kmart and the clothes were so cheap, we picked up enough items to give out another five care packages to homeless people that weekend.

Wanting to personalise our gift a little, I went to the $2 shop and got a card (and when the lady heard what I was doing, she gave me free ear warmers – score!)

The next morning, when we arrived at the usual spot on the steps of the theatre we noticed that the man wasn’t there, however his bags and some blankets were, so we placed the care package on top with the card facing up. We then distributed the other packages in the CBD on a Thursday night. And so – the Helping Adelaide’s Homeless project was born, we started a Facebook group, and hit a staggering 200 likes on the first day – this week, we passed 500.

We plan on doing the winter care packages again this year, however we recently became aware of the struggles that female homeless people have gaining access to feminine hygiene products, so we now want to help with this issue too. So currently we are collecting shampoo, conditioner, soap, sanitary products and moisturiser.

As I tell people about our project they want to help. The convenience store near work gave me 30 small packets of sunscreen which we will pop into the packages as well. We are aiming to deliver them to a number of homeless shelters for women throughout the city. My own personal goal is to gather enough goods for 50 packages.

The entire experience has been fantastic – the number of people who have reached out to us with donations or questions as to where they can drop their spare items has been overwhelming. We are just two people, who saw someone on the street one day, and did a tiny thing to try and make that person’s life a little more bearable. We wanted to help and let people know that they are seen, and not forgotten.

We may not be able to change the world, but we can certainly make a difference with small actions, and working to inspire others to do the same.

What have I learnt so far?

  1. Be the change you want to see in the world.
  2. Small actions sometimes speak the loudest.
  3. People care – The Facebook group has taken off – 200 likes in our first day – Amazing! I’ve also had complete strangers messaging me on LinkedIn offering to donate goods.
  4. You can change the world (a little bit, for one person, today).
  5. Start. Don’t talk. Don’t plan. Do.
  6.  It doesn’t cost a lot in time, effort or money to be kind.
  7. You don’t need to be organised all the time.
  8. You can do this. I can do this. We can all do this.

You can help too – Here are some ideas:

  1. Have a spare jumper you don’t think is cool? Hand it to someone cold! If you can’t find a cold person, drop it off at a shelter.
  2. Share this post – Let’s get the info out there – Inspire others. If I can do this, anyone can 🙂
  3. Donate old blankets to a homeless shelter.
  4. Take $10 to Kmart and put together your own care package, drive down the street, give it to someone.
  5.  Buy a $3 scarf, give it to someone who is cold and wet – No one likes being cold and wet.
  6. If the homeless is not your kind of cause? Pick another one!
  7. Got time, and no money? Why not make a pot of soup and take it to a shelter, or volunteer for somewhere like Fred’s Van.
  8. If Literacy is your thing? Get some old books and donate them, volunteer to help someone learn to read.
  9. Got skills that people less fortunate could use? Donate some time at a shelter helping people get prepared for work, or if you’re a counsellor or social worker, donate those skills!
  10. Got money, but no time? Check out http://swags.org.au/
  11. Got time? Interested in helping special needs kids? Donate your time at your local school in adaptive education to give them some much needed help!

The moral of the story, do something. Do anything, it doesn’t matter. Make the world a bit better for someone today. Give a sad person a hug. Leave a nice note on someone’s desk. Pay someone’s parking meter. Tell someone you think they are amazing. Buy a hungry person lunch. Make a cold person warm. MAKE SOMEONE SMILE! 🙂

Let me know if you have any other ideas or what you are doing to make a difference! If you can help with our Adelaide Homeless Appeal, please visit our Facebook page for more information.


  1. Gabrielle

    I would like to help was wondering what you need or how many care packages you need and what to put in them .
    I think this is amazing idea
    Thank you

  2. Beyond Bank

    Hi Gabrielle, thank you that would be great! I drop stuff off to Hutt Street Centre, St Vincent De Paul (Fred’s Van), Streetwise (Uniting Care) and The Salvos (Whitmore Sq). We are currently doing winter packs and collecting beanies and scarves to put in them. Please email me at ourcommunity@beyondbank.com.au if you are able to assist. ^Bridie

  3. Gay Martim

    I often make too much food for my family. I am considered a good cook. What can I do with it that would help people who would appreciate it?

  4. Norm Barber

    Last night there were about nine or ten people at Fred’s Van in Gawler Place who sleep outside. They were subdued and depressed. They get blamed for living outside. There are over a thousand government Housing Trust houses and units empty in Adelaide. Our political system is sick. Too many bureaucrats feed off the homeless industry. Why don’t the big charity bosses speak out?

  5. Beyond Bank

    Hi Norm,

    Thank you for the tip I will put Gawler Place on my list to visit over the weekend to distribute care packages.

    We have visited them in the past to distribute sanitary items, and recently donated a dozen beanies to Vinnies who were going to visit Fred’s Van yesterday.


  6. clare

    Hi, my partner and I have been collecting items to assist in another cause, but where we are taking items do no need much in the way of kids clothes (often the first thing to be donated) so as a result we have a mountain of children’s clothes! Do you know of somewhere that these may be needed? I’d like to be able to give to a shelter etc rather than op-shop. They are mostly small child things (new born to around 3years).

  7. Coral

    I belong to a knitting group & was wondering if we knit some blankets, gloves, beanies & scarves where would we take them to.

  8. Sharyn Lang

    Hi, my daughter & I are in the process of collecting handbags & filling them with everyday needs for homeless women of Adelaide. We have 20 at the moment & more coming, donations also coming eg: sanitary products, toothpaste &brushes, wipes, deodorants etc etc… But unsure as to what centre we can deliver them to. At this stage it won’t be until mid January 2016. Also would the centre be interested in clothing?. Do you know where we could take them please. Thankyou

  9. Beyond Bank

    Hi Sharyn, thanks so much for getting in touch and for arranging the handbags for homeless women in Adelaide. We suggest that Hutt St Centre would be the best place to drop these off. Donated items can be dropped off at Hutt St Centre reception, 258 Hutt Street, Monday to Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm. If you have a large quantity of items to deliver, please contact their reception prior to arrival on 08 8418 2500. You can find out more info here: http://www.huttstcentre.org.au/how_to_help/donate_quality_goods ^Aimee

  10. alison

    I work in a class with students with disabilities and they would like to help. Is there anyway we could spend a day making soups and drop them off somewhere? I think it is important for them to see where they are going. Is there anywhere the students could help surve the soup?

  11. Paul

    Hi I’m ashamed of this government on what they are not doing watching tv seeing there is 6000 homeless women & children across the state without basic essentials. Would like to contribute some how will contact my local real estate agents and start collecting shampoos ,pads,tooth paste ,and women’s things

  12. Bev Leonardis

    Hi, I saw on some tv program last year, about what I remember as being, 2 uni girls collecting hotel toiletries and making packs for the homeless.
    Could anyone advise me on this and where to drop off items.
    A great idea.

  13. Phil Steer

    Hi, I have just returned from a couple of interstate trips and remember hearing about collecting toiletries, soap, shampoo etc from your hotel stay. Since getting home I have gone through our bathroom drawers and found a shopping bag full of said toiletries. I would love to put them to a good cause rather than them sit and go to waste. Who & where can I give them to ??


  14. Beyond Bank

    Hi Phil

    Thanks so much! You can either post them to us at Beyond Bank (100 Waymouth Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Attn: Bridie Letford) or drop them off at one of the following:

    1. Hutt St Centre – Socks, Undies, Blankets, Warm things! Food Staples
    258 Hutt St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
    +61 8 8418 2500

    2. Fred’s Van
    Drop off to Fred’s Van is at the Vinnies shop
    Hawthorn- 21 Abbotshall Road, Hawthorn
    9.30-4.30 Monday to Friday

    3. Magdelene Centre- Including Baby Clothes!
    C/O Anglicare Head Office159 Port Road, Hindmarsh SA 5007
    Ph: (08) 8305 9200

    4. Salvation Army Sobering Up Unit – Socks, Undies, Clothes 62A Whitmore Square, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
    +61 8 8212 28555

    5. Streetlink Intensive Support Services Uniting Communities 1st Floor, 27 Gresham Street, Adelaide SA 5000
    08 8202 5950

    6. UnitingCare Wesley Country SA Inc.
    Coverage area is most of the north and west of South Australia including Clare and the Yorke Peninsula.
    (formerly UnitingCare Wesley Port Pirie Inc)
    60 Florence Street, Port Pirie SA 5540
    Ph: 08 8633 8606

    22 McRitchie Crescent
    Whyalla Stuart

    10 Digby Street

    7. Baptist Care (SA) – WestCare CentreContact : Candice
    11-13 Millers Court Adelaide, SA 5000
    Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm
    8118 5200

    9. Anglicare
    St Hilarys 1 William Street, Morphett Vale St Marys with Anglicare at 1167 South Road, St Marys Magdalene Centre at 42 Carrington Street, Adelaide The Old Rectory at 9 Mary Street, Salisbury or The Elizabeth Mission, 91-93 Elizabeth Way, Elizabeth.

    Hope that helps! ^Bridie

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