Bendigo women launch blanket and sock drive for the homeless

Author: Natalie Croxon

4 Aug 2016, 4:20 p.m.
TWO women are doing their bit to keep local people experiencing homelessness warm this winter.

Carolynne and Jade May have organised a blanket and sock drive to run throughout the month of August, the first week of which is Homelessness Week.

“I feel we just need to do more for our homeless,” Ms May said.

The idea came about on a particularly cold night and the pair have enlisted other organisations, including Bendigo Technical Education College, the Salvation Army, Haven; Home, Safe and the Life Centre, to help them get the donated goods to those who need them.

“I think it’s great that people are coming up with creative ideas to make a difference, because often people can have a negative view of homeless people, there’s a stigma,” Major Andrew Walker from the Salvation Army Bendigo Corps said.

Ms May said socks were cheap to buy and helped keep people warm through the cold days and nights.

“Hopefully people can clean up their cupboards and find some blankets, and purchase a pair of socks,” she said.

Melanie Booker from Haven; Home, Safe said about 300 people found themselves homeless on any given night in Bendigo.

Nationally, about 6 per cent of people who are homeless are ‘sleeping rough’ in improvised dwellings, tents or in the open.

Ms Booker said those experiencing homelessness in any form were not likely to have many possessions and would need such items as blankets and socks.

She said items such as gloves and beanies that Haven; Home, Safe had available at their office for those in need tended to go “very, very quickly”.

Census data suggests the number of people who were homeless in Victoria jumped by more than 20 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

Clean blankets and new socks can be dropped off at BTEC in St Andrews Avenue throughout August or the Life Centre, with its main collection to be held Sunday, August 7.

Ms May said they would be happy to partner with other organisations helping those experiencing homelessness.