A day in the life of a Wrap Up London Volunteer
Safestore has been supporting Hands on London’s ‘Wrap Up London’ for the last five (out of the six) years it’s been running. We provide free storage to store, sort and re-distribute the coats that have been donated to those in need. Once sorted the coats are sent to homeless shelters, vulnerable woman and children, elderly people and refuges. In 2015 the charity managed to collect 14,000 coats and the aim this year was to collect a staggering 15,000 coats.
The Safestore team wanted to get more involved this year so a small group from head office made their way into London Euston Station to man the collection point.
It was a wet, miserable and dark morning; train services were severely hampered and the American election results had just been announced. There was a sombre mood in London that morning, however the people of London showed their true spirit.
The team eagerly manned the Euston underground station from 7 o’clock in the morning, not sure what to expect. Things were slow at the start but then the jackets soon started coming in, with some commuters bringing in one or two and others bringing in sacks!
Time flew by and in four hours we collected a whopping 50 bags of coats, each containing 15-20 coats! There were eight collection points across London Tube stations and according to John Meech, the CEO of Hands on London, ‘Euston station was the most successful in terms of growth from previous years collecting a total of 105 bags over the three days - up from 30 the previous year’.
Three people generously gave the coats off their backs – slightly bonkers given the cold and wet day but they insisted.
The lovely lads from Spotify UK travelled down by train with 15 bags of coats. Spotify really does rock.
Debenhams and ASOS, two large fashion retailers in the UK, lugged several suitcases full of brand new coats down to our collection point; all brand new and in perfect condition.
People really got into the spirit of the event and each and every person that donated a coat received a rather loud round of applause, leaving with a smile on their faces knowing that their act of kindness will make a difference to someone.
Once the collection was over we transported the bags out of the underground and through Euston Station to a collection point outside where a K2 Van came and whizzed them off to one of our stores.
That’s when the hard work really starts. Volunteers are now working through all of the coats sorting them by size, gender and age. Once sorted they will be redistributed to charities that have requested them from Hands On London.
We still don’t know the official number but by the looks of it, this year’s event will smash the target of 15,000.
We loved being a part of Wrap up London and hope to continue to support the rapidly growing campaign in years to come. It made a debut in Manchester this year and there is talk of a few more cities joining in. One day they may have to change the name to Wrap Up UK!
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