IT’S bitterly cold outside so a pair of gloves, a hat and a scarf make a huge difference for anyone who is sleeping on the streets this winter.
And to help those in need this Christmas, people across Portsmouth have been donating rucksacks full of warm clothes, sleeping bags, flasks, tins of food and even the odd toiletries gift.
People donated in their thousands, with 1,300 rucksacks being brought into the donation station at the Portsmouth Watersports Centre as part of the Rucksack Project.
Joanne Tindle has volunteered for the project.
She said: ‘It’s an important initiative to let people get involved and help the homeless without parting with any money.
‘The response has been overwhelming, I am totally in awe of how many rucksacks have been pledged.
‘It’s massively important at this time of year because it is Christmas and it is very cold.
‘This is the time when all these items are needed.’
The rucksacks were collected on Saturday and distributed to charities and homeless shelters in the area, including Central Point and the Society of St James.
Sue Bullock is the leader of the intervention team at Admiral Lord Nelson School in Copnor. She said: ‘This is what staff have collected from school.
‘We get involved with quite a few charities. We just thought this was quite important.
‘We do a lot of work in Gambia. We thought it was important to do something locally for Portsmouth as well.’
Tracey Snell, 49, is from Fratton. She said: ‘It’s always good to give back, especially at this time of year.
‘I have brought my grandsons along so that they can see how lucky they are.
‘Nobody should be homeless.
‘I think this will make a massive difference. They know that they aren’t unseen and unheard if people are donating.
‘Portsmouth has done amazingly well when you see the amount of donations.’
The Rucksack Project is a national initiative born out of a simple idea to help those sleeping rough on the streets during the winter months.