How it began:
In 2017, whilst feeding the homeless, one of our dinner guests asked for a towel. The following week they asked for socks. And so, it grew.
How it's going:
Every Sunday, up to 150 homeless people, rough sleepers, prison releasees and transient people are given access to new or gently used clothes, blankets, sleeping bags and shoes.
I go to jail often:
We provide 'Wellness Bags' to Long Bay Correctional Services, for inmates who are at risk of rough sleeping on release. What's a 'Wellness Bag'? It's a bag (backpack/suitcase/Woolies bag) that has:
Rough sleeping gear: A yoga mat, a blanket and a pillow (thank you United Airlines)
Toiletries: Hotel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, comb, body lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste (thank you Qantas cabin crew)
A towel (thank you City of Sydney gyms and pools)
Clothes: Flip flops/thongs, socks, undies, a shirt, shorts, trackies, hoodie, beanie/cap (thank you to the community).
The bags are organised into sizes, delivered to the jail, and distributed by employees on release to Sydney's most vulnerable.
Then, our homeless mates are able to wash, swap or add to their bag every Sunday at 4pm.
The ultimate goal is to receive funding so the rough sleepers can work, and get paid, to pack and deliver these bags.
We want to remain sustainable, and not contribute to fast fashion.
We collect lost property from gyms, pools and major events. Thanks to our regular donors; Crossfit gyms, The Magic Room, Eyes Front, Street Buffet, Grip Star socks, Sparx underwear and Qantas Cabin Crew we are able to provide a 'free market' in Woolloomooloo, every Sunday at 4pm. Eyes Front provide meals at 3pm, we provide clothes, linen and toiletries at 4pm, and dinner is served by Street Buffet at 5pm. Nobody should ever have to choose between a warm jacket and a hot meal. Collaboratively, we make sure this never happens.
We work closely with other amazing charities to ensure the most vulnerable people in Sydney are fed and cared for, so they look and feel their best. Job interviews, court dates, work clothes, emergency accommodation, weddings, funerals and housing set-up are all a part of the services we provide. We don't judge. Ever.
We hope, one day, we are no longer required. That is our goal. We hope that nobody needs us because 'being homeless' doesn't exist anymore. Until then though, we are serious when we say, "we have the best dressed people in Sydney". Our aim is full societal integration, firstly ensuring they don't "look homeless".
Follow us on TikTok and Instagram to see more of what we do @homeless_not_nameless
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I volunteer?
Yes, of course. Email for details.
Can my kids help?
Your children will not be 'behind a table'. We believe a food service is safer. Please remember this type of volunteering shouldn't be about benefiting your children, it should be about benefiting others. The exposure to mental health issues, addiction and homelessness can be very confronting for some people. Please consider this. Most people find it very overwhelming and uncomfortable. Others thrive. Of course, this is your decision as their guardian. Everyone is welcome, always.
Do you accept clothing donations?
We accept men's clothes only. We suggest "if you wouldn't give it to your best friend, then please don't give it to us". Our friends love new or gently used shoes (sneakers), hoodies and trackies. Think comfy, clean 'home clothes'. 99% of our guests are men.
What don't you accept?
We don't need designer suits, corporate clothes or high-end fashion. If you have anything with mould, poo, stains or rips, please put it in the bin. We will not accept children or baby donations. Nor do we have storage space for furniture. We also don't need many women's clothes (1%).
How do I get my clean, fabulous, practical, amazing donations to you?
There are a few ways! If you plan on bringing your clothes directly to Woolloomooloo, then PLEASE email us first. We ration how much we bring down every week (to control waste) and we need to allocate space in our van and storage facility. We aim to be sustainable, and we never ask for new 'store bought' clothes. Plenty of men have perfectly good socks that have never seen the light of day and hotel sized toiletries. Sleeping bags are also loved. Again, please ensure they are clean.
What happens to my clothing donations?
If you bring it directly to Woolloomooloo, and we already have enough stock out for that week, then it will go straight into the van and it will be distributed the following week. There is no 'middleman'. You bring it down, it goes on bodies.
Do you accept monetary donations? What will you do with the money?
We have a Go Fund Me page.
The running costs of our van, fuel, tolls, tables, administration, storage, insurance and certain requests from our guests (e.g., dog food, haircuts, opal card top ups, steel cap boots) all add up. It has always been a labour of love, but love doesn't pay the bills. The only people profiting are the people who need it the most. And we love that!
How do I find you?
Look for the girl with a red hat with a 'P' on it. Or just listen out for the laughs and banter : )