Office workers, local parishioners, SVP members, friends, friends of friends and some of the ex-homeless community have all muscled in to pack 12,000 Vinnie Packs for the homeless.
Each Vinnie Pack contains a thermal beanie hat, thermal gloves and thermal socks, a tube of toothpaste, toothbrush, emergency foil blanket, pen and information card and will be handed out to someone on the streets throughout England and Wales this winter.
One company, Arrow Communications, bought enough stock to assemble 1,000 packs and their employees based in Godalming in Surrey will give up their free time to ensure that people on the streets will be a little bit warmer over the coming months. The residents at the Catholic Worker house in London will be packing 2,000 packs and many of those involved have been homeless themselves. The remaining stock has been packed by enthusiastic teams of volunteers in west London, in premises facilitated by Caritas Diocese of Westminster.
The Vinnie Pack initiative started in 2011 when 1,000 packs were handed out. Since then, the scheme has grown year on year with an increasing number of homeless projects and SVP conferences asking for Vinnie Packs for their drop in centres, soup runs etc. One of the ex-homeless men who helped with the packing said, “I remember being handed one of the packs a couple of years ago and was really pleased. I think it’s a great idea. We’re so used to people ignoring us.”
The contents of each pack only costs the SVP £3.25 so if you would like to give a donation to sponsor a pack please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/vinniepacks2015 or send a cheque to Vinnie Packs, PO Box 72264, London SW1P 9EZ.