Suffolk town gives homeless ‘bags of hope’
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
Kind-hearted residents of a Suffolk town have come together to help the homeless by providing shelters with nearly 100 bags of clothing and toiletries.
Carol Cotton launched the 'bags of hope' initiative in Saxmundham in 2017 with the aim of helping those less fortunate maintain higher levels of personal hygiene as the temperature drops.
The scheme proved extremely popular in the town - prompting Mrs Cotton to bring it back on a yearly basis.
Mrs Cotton said: "I used social media to advertise the project and the reaction was surprising.
"In the first year we sent 40 bags to homeless shelters, but this year we should top 90.
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"It has become a real community project. It is something so simple but so rewarding."
Mrs Cotton said more than 150 Saxmundham residents have contributed to the project, which provides homeless people with bags containing basic washing facilities and warm clothes.
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The bags include shaving razors, moisturisers, shower gels and shampoos, while clothing such as thick socks, gloves and underwear will help combat the cold weather.
Small bags of sweets have also been included to help prevent recipients becoming hungry between meals.
Donations to the cause have been left at various collection points in Saxmundham shops, including Sax Velo and The Store.
EDF employees in Sizewell also contributed to the initiative by setting up a donation point of their own in an office.
The items were then transported to St John's Church in the town before being arranged into drawstring bags and rucksacks, which are to be donated to homeless shelters throughout Suffolk.
Mrs Cotton was inspired to launch the initiative after previously providing a homeless man with a bag of clothes while working as a town pastor in Leiston.
The 'bags of hope' project was created after Mrs Cotton's suggestion to provide the Bus Shelter in Ipswich with bags as a charity campaign.
Mrs Cotton paid tribute to the Saxmundham community, adding: "Thank you to everyone who has contributed. The people of Saxmundham have been wonderful. The project has been absolutely incredible."