As winter is upon us in Sydney, the temperature has suddenly dropped and the winter coat ,scarf and mittens are making a comeback into my wardrobe along with my snugly electric blanket. ( Yes, I do have one despite my Mum’s warning that I will electrocute myself overnight)
Yes, Yes, I am well aware that most people outside of Australia tend to think that Sydney basks in the sun 365 days a year but sorry to smash your illusion as it gets really flipping cold over Winter! This matter is made even worse by the lack of central heating and warm winter carpets. Many people, including myself, survive with little electric heaters which they move from room to room like a little dog following them around on a lead.
Anyway, last week I happened to be heading home on the train, rugged up as usual with 5 layers of clothing when I happened to notice a gentleman next to me on the escalator who had no shoes and socks. His poor feet were bright red and sore. These sights tend to upset me so after going through the ticket barrier, I made a decision to wait for him and offer to purchase him some socks. Unfortunately, he didn’t come my way but I admit to going home that evening feeling rather upset that ANYONE, homeless or not, should be without warm footwear in winter!
I know most people have the idea that the majority of homeless people are drunks, drug addicts or have a mental illness but recent studies in Australia have shown that the average age for Australia's 104,000 homeless is in the mid-30s, with family breakdown the No.1 reason for taking to the streets. Nearly half are women, one in five are aged 12-18 and more than 40 per cent are couples - many with children in tow.
To be honest, these statistics shock me as around me, I see huge amounts of wealth in this country and do not believe that the figures above are acceptable.
The good news is, upon sharing my story with some work colleagues, we decided to club together, purchase some fabulous woolly socks and deliver them to two of the homeless shelters nearby. I must admit to feeling pretty blessed that I had some many kind hearted and generous friends around me. All in all, we managed to purchase over 35 pairs of woolly socks which is great – That’s 35 pairs of feet which will be warmer this winter!
So maybe this winter YOU could think about doing a random act of kindness too? Maybe you could help one of the 104.000 homeless people by purchasing a copy of the ‘Big Issue’, sharing your loose change or maybe donating some blankets and clothes.
We often forget how lucky we are to own a wardrobe full of clothes or nice warm blankets to keep us warm, so please, spare a thought to the 52% of homeless people who do not have a bed for the night and give them a helping hand