Burton YMCA and Sainsbury's link-up to provide warmth to the homeless this winter
Mon 13 Feb 2017
When the winter weather is at its worst it is easy for most of us to put on an extra layer or crank up the heating – but this is not the case if you are homeless. Life on the streets is a tough at any time of year but during the depths of winter the conditions can really take their toll.
Now Burton's YMCA is linking up with Sainsbury's and appealing for the support of the public to help those in desperate need in East Staffordshire. The supermarket in Union Street will be collecting warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, and anything else that can help keep the homeless warm.
Sandra Roberts, from the Burton store said: "YMCA are our charity year and we give them as much help as we can. They have asked if we can help them in collecting items such as hats, gloves, sleeping bags, roll mats and towels – things that help keep people warm.
"A lot of people need help over the winter period and in cold weather. The YMCA already offers some great service – they have hot showers and an area where people can go inside to keep warm.
"But these donations will help even more. Customers can hand over their donations by the kiosk near the main reception. The items collected will be of huge value to those struggling in the cold during the winter and to anyone that accesses the support of the YMCA, said a spokesman.
Warm clothing can make a huge difference to someone living on the streets.
Paula Senior, fund-raising officer for the YMCA, said: "We're thrilled to be Sainsbury's charity of the year and we're linking up for a new initiative which is a bit different to donating food. We are well stocked on food thanks to the Burton Mail's Feed Our Families appeal but we are short of hats, gloves, scarves, thermal socks and sleeping bags – things like that.
"We also need towels so that we can offer the homeless a hot shower."
Staff from Sainsbury's are also heading to the YMCA's reconnect centre on February 13 to serve hot drinks and biscuits to the homeless, as part of their charitable effort.
Mrs Senior added: "Sainsbury's have been amazing we're delighted with all their support. There customers are fantastic too for the donations they have given. A lot of people might have sleeping bags in the loft or old warm coats, gloves or scarves that they don't wear any more. It's easy to forget that some people have nothing at all – and we can help them."
At the end of last year £33,602 was raised thanks to the YMCA's annual Sleep-Out fund-raiser. The town's YMCA unveiled the figure after more than 170 people braved the cold for a Sleep-Out across sites in East Staffordshire to raise vital cash.
A six-year-old and a 72-year-old were among the fund-raisers for the event which also raises awareness for the homeless. The Sleep-Out event has been held annually for eight years now and sees ordinary folk, normally used to all the comforts of modern of home, spending a night sleeping rough to find out first-hand what it like for homeless people.
The events held over weekend included sleeping rough at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium in a cardboard box. The funds raised represent largest amount ever raised by the YMCA in any of its local fund-raising appeals.