Helping the Homeless Through COVID-19

Where do you isolate from a global pandemic when you are homeless?

Everyone is struggling at the moment with coronavirus, we are all being told to stay home and stay safe, but what do you do when your home is the cold, wet pavements!

With social distancing, self-isolating and lockdown restrictions, it has been very difficult to get physically out on the streets and do our regular outreach. We have been having lots of online meetings and getting regular updates and thankfully lots of regular genuine street homeless guys have been given temporary accommodation. We have also kept regular contact with our guys who we have rehoused over the years to help and support them however they need.

We have been dropping food parcels off almost daily now to our rehoused homeless. We have also had lots of requests for help from high-risk families who are having to self-isolate and struggling with money for food. As a group we have been trying to help everyone we can by shopping for the elderly and the vulnerable who can’t get out and also dropping toys off to the families we know have children to spread a little happiness in such worrying times.

We have been trying to help as many people as we can! As we have quite a good stock of hygiene products and toiletries which had been impossible to get in shops due to panic buying! We emptied our lock ups and donated them to all the amazing staff of the NHS who needed them the most! We also made up extra food parcels for the nurses who on the long shifts are struggling to get snacks and food to keep them going.

This is such a worrying time for everyone but with love and kindness we are sure we can all get through it!

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Homeless at Christmas 2019

We help the homeless throughout the year but Christmas is a particularly hard time for our homeless friends. As they are sat on the cold ground watching everyone buying their loved ones gifts it can make them feel even lower.

This is why we try to make Christmas an extra special time of the year and pull out all the stops to ensure they feel loved.

So as you know we had a Santa sack appeal and collected gifts, wrapped them and bagged them up in Santa sacks ready to take out and deliver to our homeless friends. The Santa sack appeal was a huge success, raising nearly a thousand pounds!

On Christmas eve we headed to the streets of Leeds to hand out the presents to all our homeless friends and also give them a hot Christmas dinner.

On Christmas morning one of our amazing volunteers was up at the crack of dawn to start cooking lots of breakfast sandwiches to take out to our homeless guys. Along with a small team of our volunteers, she set off with sandwiches and hot drinks to warm the homeless up on Christmas day morning!

Our homeless friends were so happy to wake up to a hot sandwich and lots of goodies!

We would like to say a special thanks to Stoneacre Properties for a donation of £1000 and hundreds of chocolates -we managed to share a lot with the children’s wards and St Gemmas hospice!

Helping our friends at Christmas is very important to us and we want to make it as special as we can for them! However, being homeless doesn’t just happen at Christmas, we help them all year round and count on the generous donations of the public to ensure we can keep helping our homeless friends!

Donations filling Becky’s living room!
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Santa Sack Appeal 2019

Last year at Christmas time we put together Santa sacks full of presents for our homeless friends to open on Christmas Eve.  They were full of essentials such as toiletries, hand warmers, underwear and lots more, all individually wrapped so they had lots of presents to wake up to.

On Christmas Eve, many volunteers turned up to hand out the presents to our homeless friends. Armed with their Santa sacks they hit the streets of Leeds city centre to spread Christmas cheer. It’s a very hard time of year for our friends on the streets and we want to make it a little bit easier for them. It’s important to us that we make this time of year special for our homeless friends, so they can feel less alone and know that someone cares.

This year we plan on doing the same thing to ensure our homeless friends have another special Christmas. We are going to be taking Santa sacks full with presents and essentials to gift to our friends on the streets, but we need help! The only way we can continue the amazing work we do for the homeless is through donations and this time is no different.

To be able to make this festive time of year special we will be relying on amazing and generous donations. While you’re doing your Christmas shopping think of the homeless men, women and dogs and maybe pick up an extra gift set or box of chocolates to donate for the homeless. A small gift like these can make someone’s Christmas feel so much better. Knowing that someone has thought about them at this time of year can make our friends feel as though they are cared about and are not alone.
Please if you are able to donate, donate. Below is a list of just a few things that would be great donations. For those that may be unable to buy gifts, we are also doing sponsor a Santa sack, for £25 each it will consist of a Santa sack with gift-wrapped presents and essentials with a personalised gift tag – for our guys on the streets that have furry companions we are also doing doggie sacks at £15 each and are appealing for dog toys and treats. Please give what you can, and thank you in advance.

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Food Parcels

So aswell as the food we take out every Thursday on our outreach we are also always desperate for items for our food parcels-to some of these guys these can be life saving.

When we manage to help our guys get off the streets they have to get used to living in a home. So we always like to set them up with most of the items they would need to fill their cupboards in the bathroom and kitchens and help them really get settled into their home.

Also once in their homes they might be struggling from time to time so that’s another reason our food parcels can really help.

For these, we rely on the kindness of others to donate the much needed items that we put together that really do make all the difference.

We appreciate all donations and are always in need of donations for food parcels that include:

Tins of food
Dried items
Biscuits and crackers
Pot noodles
Packets of food
Puddings
Cereal
Crisps
Dilute juice
Sauces
Toiletries
Cleaning products
Toilet rolls etc
Even if people were to buy just one item on every shop it would soon add up #homelesstreetangels

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Awards

Welcome back to the Homeless Street Angels Blog! As you know from the last blog post about the Yorkshire Choice Awards, we had been nominated for Local Fundraiser of the Year and one of our younger volunteers was nominated for Young Achiever of the Year. One of our Co-Founders Becky Joyce was also nominated for Most Charitable woman of the year and the outstanding chairty award at Simply Ladies inc. Also last year Becky won Volunteer of the year at the Yorkshire Choice Awards!

 

We won!

 

Local Fundraiser of the Year – Homeless Street Angels

At the Yorkshire choice Awards, Homeless Street Angels won the award of Local Fundraiser of the Year! None of this would be possible without our amazing team of volunteers and also all the amazing donations we get all of the time!

Young Achiever of the Year – Naomi Joyce

At the Yorkshire Choice Awards one of our younger volunteers, Naomi Joyce, was nominated for Younger Acheiever of the Year. Unfortunatley she didn’t win, but she was a finalist. In our eyes Naomi will always be a winner, she does lots of work fundraising at school for Homeless Street Angels, helping her mum cook alot of the weekly meals we take out on the streets every thursday and also comes out to feed the homeless occaisonally. She is only 11 years old!

Woman of the Year – Becky Joyce

At the Simply Ladies Inc. Awards, One of our Co-Founders was nominated to win Most Chairtable Woman of the Year and Outstanding Chairty Awards. Although Becky finished as a finalist in both these catergories she didn’t win. However, the people running the show had organised for becky to be the special winner of an award that hadn’t been up for nominations or votes… WOMAN OF THE YEAR! Our whole team believe this is an amazing award and Becky was the perfect lady to win! She works tirelessy to help the homeless, going in between jobs to visit them , take them to appointments and stock up there houses with furniture and food when they are rehoused. She also makes 80 meals a week to take out every thursday! I could sit and list all the amazing things that becky does but I would be here all day!

Without everyones continued support and amazing donations we would not be able to help the homeless the way we do! We would like to thanbk everyone for there help in getting to where we are and we hope you carry on this journey with us!

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An Average City Centre Thursday Night

The days leading up to Thursday night

On the week leading up to a Thursday night, there is lots of preparation to be done…

First things first, we have lots of generous donations to go pick up from people. We then take these donations and sort them into different bags ready for Thursday nights. We use large IKEA bags to separate the categories of clothing such as women’s tops, men’s jeans, blankets, dog coats and lots more.

On Wednesday night begins the prep of the meals, we take out around 100 meals a week, so that’s a lot of prep.

The Day of Outreach

Each Thursday we have lots of work to do before we go to the city centre in the evening.

One of our volunteers makes 20 litres of hot drinks every week. She makes hot chocolate with hot milk, and the homeless love this and we run out of quickly every week. She also makes coffee, tea and brings extra water for things such as cuppa soups and pot noodles.

A few of our volunteers help to make the food as we have lots of meals to make, so all the cooking has to happen on Thursday to ensure it’s nice and hot when it gets to the homeless.


A few of our volunteers help to make the food as we have lots of meals to make, so all the cooking has to happen on Thursday to ensure it’s nice and hot when it gets to the homeless.

Once all the food and drinks are prepped and packed its time to pack up the cars and vans full to the brim with clothes, toiletries, food and much more

On the night

At around 7pm the team begin to arrive at the meeting point, with cars full of donations. We unpack the cars into trolleys on the street ready to set off around town. We also pack sandwiches, cold drinks, crisps and snacks into snack bags so they are easy to give out to our homeless friends.

We have started to get some of the homeless coming and waiting for us at the meeting point, all excited for their hot food and drinks.
Once we have served all the homeless at the meeting point, we begin our regular route around the city centre.
The homeless begin to know where we are going to be at what time and we have regular people come to see us at certain places. This means we have begun to build good relationships with some of them and learn more about their pasts.

By the end of the night we have usually run out of all food, hot drinks, sleeping bags, tents and much more.

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Yorkshire Choice Awards

Last year, Becky Joyce, one of the directors of Homeless Street Angels was nominated and won the award for Volunteer of the Year at Yorkshire Choice Awards.

This year as a charity we have been nominated for Local Fundraiser of the Year at the Yorkshire Choice Awards

Also Becky’s daughter, Naomi Lister Joyce has been nominated for Young Acheiver of the year

We would really appreciate if as many people could vote for both Homeless Street Angels and Naomi Lister Joyce in the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

Simply follow the link below:

https://www.yorkshirechoiceawards.co.uk/votehere

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Homeless at Christmas

We help the homeless throughout the year but Christmas is a particularly hard time for our homeless friends. As they are sat on the cold ground watching everyone buying their loved ones gifts it can make them feel even lower.

This is why we try to make Christmas an extra special time of the year and pull out all the stops to ensure they feel loved.

So as you know we had a santa sack appeal and collected gifts, wrapped them and bagged them up in Santa sacks ready to take out and deliver to our homeless friends.

On Christmas eve we headed to the streets of Leeds to hand out the presents to all our homeless friends and also give them a hot Christmas dinner.

All our homeless friend were so happy to get the presents and a hot Christmas dinner and they still are talking to us about their presents they received.

On Christmas morning one of our amazing volunteers was up at the crack of dawn to start cooking lots of breakfast sandwiches to take out to our homeless guys. She also took out waffles with maple syrup, selection boxes, homemade gingerbread men and lots of hot drinks.

Our homeless friends were so happy to wake up to a hot sandwich and lots of goodies!

Helping our friends at Christmas is very important to us and we want to make it as special as we can for them!

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Santa Sack Appeal – On The Night

To start the night, we had lots of amazing donations ready to sort and wrap for our homeless friends. From men’s and women’s gifts to lots and lots of chocolate! 

We started by sorting all the donations into boxes of different categories: men’s, women’s, chocolate and hats, scarves and gloves. Throughout the night, people brought more and more donations so these boxes were nearly overflowing by the end of the night. 

Small groups of people took a box each and began wrapping all the presents for our homeless friends. 

Women’s gifts

The boxes of presents by the end of the night were full to the brim and ready to be transferred to the santa sacks and go out to our homeless friends on Christmas eve.

Raffle Prizes

Throughout the evening we were also selling raffle tickets for all these amazing prizes, generously donated. From a GHD hair dryer to 2 vouchers for dermaplaning, there were lots of exciting prizes to be won!

As we had lots of kids helping us at the event, they all helped to make cute handmade Christmas cards for our homeless friends. 

All the kids also helped on the bake sale, to sell all the beautiful cakes, buns and biscuits that some of our wrappers had brought and donated.

The whole night went amazingly! We couldn’t have asked for better support from donators and helpers and we can’t wait to give all these amazing gifts to our homeless friends on christmas eve.

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Helping our friends get off the streets

So many of you know us for what we do on the streets for our homeless friends but it doesn’t stop there – that is just the beginning, our long-term goal is to get our friends off the streets and in a home of their own and help them to rebuild their lives. This takes a lot of hard work and dedication. 

Firstly we need to start with housing options and getting them in the system and making sure they keep up with their bids week after week. 

Before…

Once getting there properties we need to make the extra touches and make it a home. That’s when all the appeals go out and loads of pickups and collections. We then work our magic and give them something to be proud of but it still doesn’t stop there. 

After!

The support is needed now more than ever – help with sorting out bills , paperwork appointments food parcels and just a friendly face so they know they are not alone without everyone’s help and support we wouldn’t be able to continue to do what we do and change lives

As well as amazing donations of essentials for our friends on the streets, we rely on generous donations of things for the people we help to rehouse.

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