The new innovative way of giving has arrived – “Kindness Drawers.”
Whilst we were out celebrating the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the real Santa’s Elves of Belfast were hard at work making our city centre that bit more of a better place.
Created by the people who brought Belfast the Homeless Pod (aka Common Law NI) a year before, the drawers, which are a collection of plastic tubs, have been placed in a quiet street with the aim of allowing people to come along and deposit any goods.
People from across the city have been refilling the plastic drawers with toothpaste, soaps, clothes and blankets to help those less fortunate.
The initiative has proven popular, particularly because of the immediacy of the help granted by the drawers. Should someone living rough on the streets or in emergency accommodation need some dry socks, gloves or blanket to keep warm, they can reach it immediately. The initiative has been praised for cutting out the humility aspect involved in directly asking people for help face to face, when some might feel embarrassed or afraid.
Indeed, like the Homeless Pod, this is a social experiment of sorts – can Belfast take to this? Will it be damaged or destroyed? Will everyone and anyone just take what they like from the Kindness Drawers? Will the council allow it to remain?
With the people of Belfast refilling the drawers throughout the weekend and Homeless Outreach Groups on the streets ensuring awareness, this looks like a fantastic idea we hope continues.
Belfast has seen a series of great initiatives over the festive, focusing on helping people donate who perhaps don’t know how to go about it.
Including the unique incentive: ‘Giving in the Name of Beer,’ scheme at Aether & Echo. Set up by charitable Belfast restaurateur Brian McGeown (who also gave up his Christmas Eve and Day to cook a three-course meal for hundreds of the homeless), it saw do-gooders rewarded for their donations with a free pint of Guinness, bottle of Coors light or a Bushmills whiskey miniature.
Recent times has seen a particular rise in giving to various charities and causes, with particularly heightened awareness of the issue of homelessness in Belfast, with many adding the intention of ‘doing good’ to their New Year resolutions for 2016.
Those wishing to donate to the “Kindness Drawers” items you might like to leave include;
Socks (thick preferably)
Toiletries such as Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Soap, Liquid Soap, Roll-On Deodorant, Shampoo, Conditioner, Combs, Hairbrushes, Tampons/Sanitary Towels and anything else you think that in your day-to-day life, is useful.
Ideally items will be larger sizes to be of use to as many people as possible.
As the “Kindness Drawers” are left unlocked and unmanned at all times, people are being advised to please not leave any Aerosols, Mouthwash, Aftershave/Perfumes or Shaving Razors, Medication or Painkillers. Additionally, no food items.
If you wish to donate, they are located opposite Malmaison on Victoria Street, in Jubilee Gardens (a raised concrete seating area near the Albert Clock).