Emmaus Gloucestershire launches Operation Backpack
Emmaus Gloucestershire is launching its Operation Backpack appeal to help rough sleepers during the coldest months of the year, and is asking the local community to get involved by donating essential winter items.
Plummeting temperatures bring increased risk of and health issues to rough sleepers. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, at least 78 homeless people died on the streets or in temporary accommodation last winter, with many being found dead in doorways, crowded shelters or in tents pitched in freezing conditions.
Emmaus Gloucestershire is keen to encourage school groups, businesses, families, groups and individuals to get involved by collecting essential items for men and women facing extreme weather conditions including:
- thermal base layer clothing
- gloves, hats, scarves
- winter sleeping bags
- disposable razors
- hand/body lotion
- sanitary products
Emmaus Gloucestershire will also be distributing items for dog owners who are on the streets, and welcome donations of dog food and small toys.
Emmaus Gloucestershire supports 31 formerly homeless people, known as companions, by providing a home for as long as they need within a supportive environment and the opportunity to gain work experience in its five charity shops in Nailsworth, Stroud, Cheltenham, and Gloucester. Solidarity, meaning to help someone less fortune than yourself, is a key value to Emmaus. As an act of ongoing solidarity, companions and staff at Emmaus Gloucestershire visit the weekly soup kitchen in Gloucester city centre to distribute essential items to rough sleepers. All backpacks from the campaign will be distributed here on a weekly basis between October 2018 and March 2019.
“It’s really easy to get involved with Operation Backpack. Simply drop off the much-needed items to one of our shops, and we will do the rest. We kindly ask that if people would like to donate a backpack containing all of the items, that they tag the outside of the bag stating which items are inside. We’re equally grateful to people who donate one or two of the suggested items or an empty backpack – every little helps.
Last year, we were overwhelmed with the support we received during our Operation Backpack appeal. The generosity of the public meant we were able to distribute more than 400 backpacks to rough sleepers last year, and with your help we hope to beat that number this time round.”
Joe Feeley, Chief Executive at Emmaus Gloucestershire
Items and backpacks can be dropped off at any Emmaus shop in Nailsworth, Stroud, Cheltenham, and Gloucester, Monday – Saturday during opening hours.
To find out more about Emmaus Gloucestershire, or the address of one of its shops, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/gloucestershire.