“The second lockdown – and the start of the cold and wet months – is making it extremely difficult for our guests to source basic items that we all take for granted. Sadly, we have seen an increase in the number of homeless on the streets. The situation is becoming desperate.”
In an inspiring new move, the British charity organization Hand on Heart is on track to deliver more than 1,000 backpacks to rough sleepers across England amidst tough Covid-19 lockdown conditions and upcoming harsh winter weather.
These essential backpacks, nicknamed Winter Warmer backpacks, contain essential necessities for those forced to sleep rough during England’s cold winter. Items included in these backpacks are blankets, hooded sweatshirts, thermal clothing, gloves, woolly hats, shirts, socks, underwear, hot water bottles, deodorants, oral hygiene sets, and personal protective equipment.
The items included in these backpacks were chosen after consulting with rough sleepers and with guidance from local homeless shelters – ensuring that everything included in these Winter Warmer backpacks would not go to waste.
These backpacks were also created separately for men and women, as clothing size and different hygiene products differed from the needs of men and women sleeping rough this winter. Hand on Heart also delivered cupcakes baked by local bakers as they distributed the essential backpacks.
With a team of 42 volunteer families, including the elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor, the Hand on Heart Team has so far assembled 1,050 backpacks – and are distributing these goods to those who need it across Watford, Central London, Greater London, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Essex, and Hertfordshire.
Mayor Peter Taylor helping deliver essential goods and backpacks
Hand on Heart’s co-founder Afzal Pradhan BEM stated:
This is a critical time to distribute essential packs. The second lockdown – and the start of the cold and wet months – is making it extremely difficult for our guests to source basic items that we all take for granted. Sadly, we have seen an increase in the number of homeless on the streets. The situation is becoming desperate. However, working in collaboration with other charities and the support from Al Mizan Charitable Trust, Spectrum Consortium, and our partners Beta Charitable Trust, we are making an impact to provide help to rough sleepers on the streets.”
The drop in donations to homeless shelters paired with harsh winter conditions has made it extra rough for those forced to sleep outside – and because of this, in particular, organizations like Hand on Heart are needed more than ever as they help those who are homeless be better prepared for Covid lockdowns and winter weather.
Hand on Heart
More distributions of Winter Warmer backpacks are planned for this winter to complete the project started by Hand on Heart, and will continue with the organization Who is Hussain? in The Strand, Central London; with the organization Children of Adam in Holborn, Central London; with the organization The Hope Souce in Birmingham; and with the organization HARP in Southend.
Let us hope that more initiatives like this one by Hand on Heart will continue to help those most vulnerable across England and the UK, and that their good deeds will be rewarded inshallah.
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