Organization keeping London's homeless warm needs help
A London organization designed to help keep kids and the broader homeless population warm is looking for more support.
Keeping Kids Warm provides mitts, scarves and hats to those in need in a unique way.
On Wednesday, volunteer Ken Laurin explained to CTV News London the methods at Boyle Park in London’s Old East Village.
“What we do is we put them in [clear] bags to keep them from the elements and hang them here so that anybody who needs a hat or a pair of mitts to keep warm, they can come and take what they need,” said Laurin.
He also says the bags give a person experiencing homelessness the opportunity to accept a gift they might decline in person. The winter-wear items are placed in many areas throughout the Forest City.
Laurin joined Keeping Kids Warm five years ago after meeting Londoner Donna Atkinson-Wilson.
She founded the organization after an appearance of CTV London's former morning show, ‘New Day.’
“By the time I got home, I had received so many messages of help and support,” said Atkinson-Wilson.
Ken Laurin, a volunteer with Keeping Kids Warm, is seen at London’s Boyle Park, Jan. 26, 2022. (Sean Irvine / CTV London)The support elated her as was recovering from depression. With the support, she received a new charity was born and has since helped thousands of people.
“I figure we’ve given out over 20,000 items, handmade items,” she said.
But, there is more than yarn to this charity, “It’s more than mitts,” Atkinson-Wilson contends.
She believes in some ways, the items lift the mental health of recipients.
“Even to just know someone cares about them is what my message is.”
But as she and her volunteers spread their warming items around, they have also gotten to know London’s growing homeless population, especially the young.
But with successful connections comes some painful losses among the faces they meet.
“We lost four kids last year, all teenagers, four in a week,” said Atkinson-Wilson.
As she points out Bell Let’s Talk Day, she reminds us all to keep an open mind about the young in need.
Some of them have issues, mental health issues, drug issues, but they are kids, they’re kids! I would never, ever, see a child struggle if I could help them.”
Keeping Kids Warm is looking for more knitters and item distributors. If you can help, Atkinson-Wilson asks that you visit their Facebook page.
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