SOCIAL IMPACT STAPLES THIS SPRING 🌸
Spring is that strange time where no one quite knows whether it’s “shorts weather” or if a thermal coat is needed (especially in the UK). And let’s face it, we’re all guilty of the curtain-peek-through, checking to see if it’s snowing or raining and hoping and praying it’s not.
While we can laugh (maybe cry) about the unpredictable weather this season brings, have you ever considered what the change of seasons means for someone experiencing homelessness? For many of us, clothing is something that we rarely need to give much thought to because of how easily we can access a change of it; however, it can be a seriously worrying thought for someone experiencing homelessness who does not have the same ease of access to clothing as we do. You see, the change of weather presents a significant challenge - and not just when things start to get cold. As the weather starts to heat up and the days get longer, everyone needs to stay cool, and as our bodies are naturally inclined to sweat a bit more, we need to stay hygienic too to avoid unpleasant body odours, preserve cleanliness and maintain a sense of dignity. These needs are the same for individuals living on the streets or in a situation of homelessness.
As the sunshine starts to come out, we thought we’d take a moment to look at some of the seasonal needs those less fortunate than ourselves may experience. We’re big believers in learning more about the issues we’re working hard to solve, and by better understanding the need at hand, we can better cater towards helping it. So, here’s a look at how you can best support individuals experiencing homelessness over the next few months through both products and non-material ways!
Most of us use at least one pair of clean socks a day and pretty much all of us throw a pair on without thinking twice. Socks are an essential and routine part of our day and, although we may not realise it, they are a vital part of maintaining foot health. Socks provide an effective barrier to protect the skin on our feet and a clean pair of socks is essential in protecting against the development of various infections. Additionally, socks not only help to keep us warm in cold weather by minimising the heat that escapes from our bodies but they are also necessary to absorb excess moisture in warmer weather, preventing sweaty feet and the issues that accompany them.
For these reasons and more, it’s no surprise that many of the charities we work with have socks as one of the most common needs requested by those that they help. For us, socks are a no-brainer but for these vulnerable individuals, they are a luxury many cannot afford. This giving item is, therefore, a consistent need from season to season, spring being no exception.
So, if you want to play a part in making a difference, why not pick up a few socks (always try to donate new pairs for hygiene and dignity reasons) and drop them off at your local homeless charity? These small pieces of clothing make a big impact.
Check out our Why Socks? blog to learn more!
We all wear it, need it and probably don't think twice about it BUT this everyday item of clothing tends to get massively overlooked when it comes to a charity’s donations. Similar to socks, this basic essential is a luxury to someone experiencing homelessness and many individuals living in a vulnerable situation will struggle to get access to this bare necessity.
On top of this, as the weather gets warmer, underwear becomes even more important as a means of hygiene and cleanliness preservation. Due to the intimate nature of these items, it’s also really important that any donations are brand-new. Underwear, simple as it may seem, is an item that life can be very difficult and uncomfortable to live without. We would highly encourage looking into donating some clean, fresh and dignity-giving underwear this season!
P.S. Stay tuned for exciting things to come from our Fashion and Social Impact Teams on this topic 👀
P.P.S. We probs aren’t allowed to mention that yet. Oops 😬
Warmer weather also brings forth the need for light and breathable garments so what better way to introduce spring than a new T-Shirt! By working alongside some of the amazing charities we partner with who cater to and for the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness, we’ve seen that T-Shirts are most requested during the spring because of the flexibility of choice they provide us with. A T-Shirt makes it possible for individuals to choose whether to layer up on colder days or dress down on warmer days. This choice, simple as it may seem, contributes to giving these individuals the dignity that accompanies the ability to choose - a simple experience everyone should be able to enjoy.
1. FOOD BANKS
With the shut down of restaurants, gyms, shops and so many other communal gatherings due to the pandemic, came the shut down of many other extremely important community facilities such as food banks, charities and soup kitchens. With so many of these vital organisations being unable to maintain operation throughout the pandemic, the few that have remained open have experienced much greater pressure, demand and an influx of guests. Due to COVID-19, food insecurity has skyrocketed and many individuals living in varying degrees of homelessness and poverty have been in the thick of this tragic increase.
As a result of this, the organisations that have remained open to help cater to this need require all the help they can get. Food banks, soup kitchens and other food-focused charities are all organisations that would hugely benefit from donations, volunteering and financial assistance this spring.
Whether it’s assisting with deliveries, meal prepping, serving meals, or organisational support, there is always space to volunteer in a safe way that suits your capacity to do so. By volunteering, you are sacrificing something very precious: your time. But this small sacrifice on your part can change the life of another.
Check out which charities in your area are looking for volunteers and seek out more info on how you can get involved! If you’re in London, our incredible charity partner that is always looking for volunteers is the Soup Kitchen! You’ll be in good hands and feeding special hearts with the team over there ❤️ Tell them we say hi!
2. LOCAL OUTREACH
As the various phases of lockdown begin to lift around the UK and other areas, there will be more opportunities for you to get involved in local outreach programmes! This is an amazing way to engage with vulnerable individuals in a safe and organised way.
Volunteering can seem like a scary task when we don’t know where or how to start; however, there are so many organisations that make it so easy to get involved in a community-centred environment and who can provide you with all the tools, information and preparation you need to make an impact. Every bit of time, sacrifice and kindness helps, and since homelessness can encompass so many different shapes and forms, the more diversity of help the better the need can be met.
Why not spend some time looking into the local outreach programmes in your area? You’ll likely find there’s a form of outreach that best suits you and one that you can bring your unique gifts of service to!
As a worldwide issue with a unique fingerprint to all who are experiencing it, homelessness needs all the unique attention it can get.
In whatever capacity you can get involved, let’s all work together to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most this spring.