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?
- Be the change you want to see in the world.
- Small actions sometimes speak the loudest.
- 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.
- You can change the world (a little bit, for one person, today).
- Start. Don’t talk. Don’t plan. Do.
- It doesn’t cost a lot in time, effort or money to be kind.
- You don’t need to be organised all the time.
- You can do this. I can do this. We can all do this.
You can help too – Here are some ideas:
- 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.
- Share this post – Let’s get the info out there – Inspire others. If I can do this, anyone can 🙂
- Donate old blankets to a homeless shelter.
- Take $10 to Kmart and put together your own care package, drive down the street, give it to someone.
- Buy a $3 scarf, give it to someone who is cold and wet – No one likes being cold and wet.
- If the homeless is not your kind of cause? Pick another one!
- 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.
- If Literacy is your thing? Get some old books and donate them, volunteer to help someone learn to read.
- 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!
- Got money, but no time? Check out http://swags.org.au/
- 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.