Whether you’re pro or con Valentine’s Day, we can probably all agree that spreading a bit of love around is a good thing. This year, Kings Cross charity Wayside Chapel wants you to share some of that love with those experiencing homelessness. It’s asking Sydneysiders to forgo giving traditional gifts and instead put their money towards a pair of clean undies for someone doing it tough.
A donation of just $20 to the Valentine’s Day campaign will give a person who is sleeping rough a 15-minute hot shower, toiletries and a fresh towel, as well as a clean pair of undies and socks (and a bra for women). If you have a little extra to give, $35 will include all of the above along with a hot drink and a razor, and $60 will help keep support programs running.
In return for your donation, Wayside will send your Valentine an e-card telling them that you’ve done some good in lieu of a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers.
The drive aims to raise $100,000 to keep Wayside’s stock of socks and undies replenished throughout the year. Donations will also help those experiencing homelessness find stable accommodation and give them mental-health support where needed.
“Without necessities like clean underwear, clean clothes and a shower it is impossible for a person to function properly,” Wayside Chapel’s pastor and CEO Jon Owen said in a statement. “The same goes for people sleeping rough. By giving someone the gift of clean clothes and undies, you give them the dignity to be able to feel human again and take the first steps towards turning their lives around and moving towards better health and better days. People come to Wayside Chapel because we provide unconditional, practical love 365 days a year without judgement.”
According to Wayside, there are around 37,715 people who are experiencing homelessness in NSW – an increase of 37 per cent since 2011. Nearly one third of people accessing services supplied by organisations such as Wayside Chapel are women and children.
Wayside Chapel’s Valentine’s Day campaign is accepting donations until February 14.