Homeless people are not the problem, they are the result of the problem.
With poverty on the rise and an estimated 3,000 people homeless in Brussels alone – 55% of which are under 30 years of age, the outlook could not be starker.
We do not need to walk far from our home to be witness to the issue, sometimes only a brief stroll and we come across pockets of rough sleepers across the city. I feel an overwhelming emptiness every time this happens which is in every case promptly followed by a longing to help in some way. Sometimes offering someone a drink, some food or even just a heartfelt smile has felt like my only option but when we then discovered that the non-profit homeless charity Solidarité Grands Froids had a citywide project called Operation Chaussettes, we saw a great chance to support in a new way.
Solidarité Grands Froids have a mission to help people living on the streets in many different ways, and while Operation Chaussettes is a far cry from ending homelessness, the project is part of a scheme aimed at supporting those with physical, social and mental difficulties to experience at least a greater sense of comfort in often unimaginable circumstances. As such, the charity works on a number of fundraising actions to redistribute a host of material goods to the most vulnerable in our city.
To make the point, those of us who are fortunate enough to have the choice, love the sustainability of a sock: most people wear them until they are pretty worn and then they get discarded. Great for the lifespan of a sock! But after a spring clean in the bedroom, how many people can say they have donated socks to a charity? It is something that has never occurred to me, or to many others it seems, so I was not surprised to hear that socks are the least donated item of clothing to charities.
But now we have found a charity where we can help to make a difference! With a studio full of samples and many contacts with companies in the sock industry, we have made a pledge to ourselves that twice a year we will tap into our network and sweep up as many socks as we can find to donate to the wonderful Operation Chaussettes.
Homelessness is an unimaginable situation to be faced with but for some people it is a reality which they are living at this very moment. If you have read this and want to help such a worthy charity, there are so many things you can donate, from socks to toothpaste. See how you can help and visit http://www.solidaritegrandsfroids.be/fr/