Two Richmondshire families who joined forces to provide homeless people in nearby towns and cities with useful gifts say the response from the public has been “magnificent”.
Olwyn Chorley, of Thornton Rust, and her daughter Kate, and Jackie and Andrew Potter, of Richmond, launched an appeal last month to collecting vital items for the gift packages for distribution in Darlington, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and other towns.
The volunteers have thanked everyone who has contributed to their Homeless but Not Alone and say it will now continue throughout the year.
They reported: “To date we have distributed packages in York, Newcastle and Nottingham and will be travelling to Leeds very soon.
“The packages have been very well received and we have been able to chat to the recipients which is helping us to gain a wider insight into the issues surrounding homelessness.
“One of the first young men that we met was very pleased to receive a package but seemed equally pleased to be talking to someone as he said that no one had spoken to him all day. He tentatively asked us whether we had any dress trousers and a shirt as it was his brother’s funeral the next day and he was too ashamed to turn up in the clothes he had on.
“Unfortunately, at that time, we did not have the required items although we were able to give him an extremely warm outdoor coat on an absolutely foul night and we made sure that he had some cash to buy something more suitable from Primark the next morning.
“His story was one of bereavement, neglect and a childhood spent in care homes and residential schools.
“At the present time we have received so many clothes that we are unable to take any further large clothing items, although hats, scarves and gloves, particularly for men, would still be very welcome.
“We would also continue to appreciate donations of food, personal care items, disposable razors, torches with batteries, sleeping bags and also new underwear (sizes small or medium). Additionally, vouchers or loaded gift cards for popular food and drink outlets would also be very much appreciated.
“We will be continuing with our work throughout the year and will be accepting items on an ongoing basis.
“We are also hoping to team up with a charity called ‘Focus for Hope’ based at Brighouse Dental Practice, that offers outreach support to homeless people in Leeds on a fortnightly basis, providing hot meals, clothes and personal care items, as well as free dental checks.”