The Rucksack Project – practical support for the homeless this winter
For many people, winter can be a tough time. But it’s sure to be far worse for those who are forced to sleep rough on the streets for the coldest months of the year. We recently heard about the Rucksack Project, a grassroots movement that was set up to help people sleeping rough over the winter months. The concept seemed like such a simple and effective way of getting help to where it’s really needed that we were inspired to share the story.
The project was started back in 2009 by Mathew White. Concerned that the true meaning of Christmas was getting lost in the world of commercialism, Mathew looked for a more meaningful way of gift giving. He was inspired to go his local charity shop and buy a rucksack and some warm clothes. He added a thermos of hot soup then gave the lot to a homeless person in his area. The positive reaction he got to this act of generosity spurred him on to make the Rucksack Project into a national movement.
Volunteers taking a well-earned breather after carrying the many donated rucksacks to the St Anne’s Centre
When all of us at Suma heard about this, we loved the idea of giving in a hands-on way rather than making an anonymous donation. Between us we’ve come up with an impressive
stash of rucksacks, sleeping bags, warm clothes and food for the Rucksack Project event in Leeds. The donations will be distributed by local organisations St Annes Community Services and Hearthounds.
The Rucksack Project has donations events around the UK- there are currently 48 upcoming events spread across areas like Bolton, Cambridge, Aberdeen and Derby, with more added all the time. If you’d like to help, have a look at the main Rucksack Project Facebook page for details of collections near you.