LONDON – A British Muslim charity has collected more than 1000 coats and winter clothes for homeless and rough sleepers in Manchester, offering them a chance to survive winter cold and preserving a charity tradition that has been going for years.
“Now, we have sorted all the coats, we will take them to places like homeless shelters,” Samra Said, Human Appeal’s UK Project Coordinator, told The Independent on Wednesday, November 23.
“From there, people sleeping on the streets will come to one of the shelters where their free coats are and, from there, the people giving out the coats can offer them help with other issues – whether it’s finding somewhere to live, a health issue, a substance abuse issue – anything.
“Potentially, those of you who have donated a coat haven’t just warmed a soul, but you could have changed a life too.”
Human Appeal, a British international development and relief charity, launched a campaign in October called Wrap Up Manchester, calling on members of the public to donate their unwanted winter clothing to people in need.
In a bid to provide warmth for the homeless on the streets of Manchester during winter, the Muslim charity has collected more than 700 coats and 400 other items of winter clothing.
This year’s work was done in partnership with Hands On London, an organization that has run a similar campaign in the capital over the past six years, organizing nine collection locations across Greater Manchester.
Preparing the items for distribution, Human Appeal sorted out items before giving them to homeless shelters, elderly organizations, women refuges, children centers and other charities.
Moreover, the Islamic charity said that more than 250 parcels are yet to arrive, expecting the number of items donate to exceed well over 1,500.
The efforts comes as the council announced annual rough sleeper count, which came nearly twice as many people are sleeping on the streets of Manchester as last year.
Seventy people were recorded in one night in December, compared with 43 on the same evening in 2014. Meanwhile there were just 10 in 2011.
“It has been truly heartwarming to see the number of donations here today and the effort people have gone to… including dry cleaning!” Councilor John Leech said.
“It has really hit home in the last few days with all the bad weather and how cold it has been just how important the work of charities like Human Appeal is, and how incredibly important it is that vulnerable people across Manchester have something warm to wrap up with over the Christmas months.”
The campaign itself received cross-party support from political leaders across the city with Labour MPs Jim McMahon OBE and Kate Green and Lib Dem Manchester Mayoral Candidate Cllr Jane Brophy donating coats and throwing their support behind the campaign.
“Human Appeal helps people in need all across the world, Asia, Africa and here in the UK. Whether it’s a besieged city in Syria or the growing number of homeless people in our home city of Manchester, Human Appeal aims to help in every humanitarian crisis,” Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal, said.
“The winter months can be unforgiving for those sleeping rough or unable to afford a winter coat, Human Appeal want to not only offer a hand to those in desperate need of humanitarian aid, but to wrap an arm around those in desperate need of warmth. Thank you so much for everyone who helped wrap up Manchester this winter.”