Regarding Street Spirit’s “bits and bobs” operation

Street Spirit’s main operation is on Saturday night when we feed the homeless. Besides trying to empathetically interact with our guests we also give out bits and bobs that may help. This posting is by way of guidance on what helps and what doesn’t, noting what we give out is mostly donated, for which we are very grateful.

We appreciate those who take responsibility for this side of our operation but it is still somewhat “ad hoc” and there is always a need for those who can help in this (please ask). We would rather you check with us first, especially when donating clothes, as we don’t have the capacity to equip individuals with clothes other than with basic items. If you do wish to donate spare clothes etc. to the homeless, might me suggest HARP or the Storehouse. We really appreciate what “friends”, like those from One Love, have done to address this need. On the clothing side, we focus on socks and underwear (more men than ladies because that is where the demand is and if men’s pants this should be boxers (medium / large but not extra large). Now it is winter we are getting a demand for gloves and woolley hats (and need to replenish). We appreciate donations of any of the above and the generosity of spirit when donating.

As you know, many of our guests sleep rough and things that can help are always useful. We are always in need of SLEEPING BAGS and right now we are short (we noticed some suppliers like Millets aren’t doing cheap bags as out of their season, although have just found Amazon are making a £8.99 offer, which is satisfactory). While we tend not to do tents, we are sometimes asked. While blankets and duvets are nice, they are often impractical bearing in mind the problems around storing stuff if sleeping rough; often such items when discarded cause additional problems.

Often we get requests for other more specialist “orders” but that is what they are, e.g. size 9 sturdy boots etc. and is an area where more cooperation with other kitchens etc. may help. We have found sometimes that toiletry items are appreciated e.g. toothbrush and paste to clean teeth. On an even more specialist note, sanitary wear for ladies can be helpful. I hope that is helpful and it is based on my observation of being out most Saturdays and being involved in the “bits and bobs” operation. Note: this is based on an article that was posted two years ago – some things never change!

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