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Generosity keeping homeless warm this winter

donate a blanket for the homeless
Sophia Bird and Elaine Kirk from Artisans 4670 are calling on the community to donate a blanket to keep homeless people warm this winter

New custodians at Artisans 4670 are calling on the community to donate a blanket to help keep homeless people in the region warm over winter.

Elaine Kirk and Sophia Bird volunteer their time to manage the Artisans 4670 gallery and store at Bargara, having taken over management in May.

“We’re calling for people to bring in nice clean blankets that will be distributed directly to the homeless via the Bundaberg Outreach Van and the Bundaberg Church of the Nazarene,” Sophia said.

As new custodians, the pair are keen to get Artisans 4670 more involved in community causes.

“I’ve previously done street swags and I’ve volunteered to feed homeless at Christmas, so I’ve been actively involved in homeless issues before.”

Sophia is studying for her master’s in counselling and holds a degree in psychology. She said issues like mental health and homelessness are close to her heart.

“A lot of homelessness tied with mental health so a bit of a passion. With Covid-19, homelessness has gotten a lot worse to include whole families after jobs losses.

donate a blanket for the homeless
Anyone who can’t make it to Artisans 4670 to drop off the blankets can take them directly to the Nazarene Church

“I personally think the stigma around homelessness means people hesitate to seek help.

“But in reality, anybody can find themselves homeless as life changes,” Sophia said.

“Giving blankets has a two-fold benefit. It provides physical warmth, but also benefits mentally by showing that people in the community have compassion and care about those who are struggling.”

“I think it’s basically to show support and kindness and compassion to those doing it tough, for providing hope and connection to those that might not have as much as everybody else.”

Many in the community have answered the call with one Bargara local donating multiple hand-made crocheted blankets for distribution, but Sophia said many more are needed before July.

“July is the coldest month, and we want to get the blankets in and distributed before then.”

Anyone who can’t make it to Artisans 4670 to drop off the blankets can take them directly to the Nazarene Church at 33 Steffensen St, Bundaberg West for direct distribution to those in need.

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