A new organisation set up to help the city’s homeless has launched a fundraising bid to give them a Christmas to remember this year.
Homeless Street Angels - launched by twin sisters Becky and Shelley Joyce, 43 - are planning to put together rucksacks full of treats to give to those who live on the streets of Leeds this Christmas Eve.
They are now appealing to local residents and businesses to donate food, toiletries, clothes and special treats for their special ‘Backpack Project’.
Becky, who has been helping the city’s homeless for the past three years, urged people to spare a thought for those less fortunate than themselves.
She said: “Christmas Eve is the worst time for them. They just sit there on the floor, forgotten and left out, with no family. But now they will have something to get excited about.
“We had the idea to get a rucksack for them all and give it to them on Christmas Eve. We’ll fill them with 20 items - half toiletries and essentials as well as socks, gloves, hat, and presents, like perfume, torches, fidget spinners. Stuff they would love to have on the streets but that they don’t normally have. “
The Angels’ project has already touched the hearts of people across the city since it was launched on their Facebook page.
Generous donations so far have meant they could re-set their initial target from 50 backpacks to 100.
The aim is to have a backpack for every homeless person in Headingley and the city centre - estimated to be 70 men, 20 women and there will also be 10 back packs for dogs.
Mum-of-three Becky added: “Everyone seems to be getting involved, it’s just brilliant.”
They have organised an event at the Lord Darcy on Harrogate Road, Alwoodley, on Thursday November 30 from 4pm, where people can drop off donations and help wrap the presents and stuff the rucksacks.
“It starts at 4pm and we’re hoping it will be a real community Christmas family event. We’re inviting kids along and there’ll be a Christmas choir.
“And on Christmas Eve, if anyone wants to come around with us to give them out, they can do.”
For more information visit the Homeless Street Angels Facebook page.
Becky Joyce set up Homeless Street Angels on the back of the wave of support she got when she launched a fundraising page for ‘Wardy’ - the homeless man who was hospitalised after an attack in Headingley in August.
The page went on to raise £2,000 for Wardy - aka Dean Ward, 40, - who is now living in a bedsit thanks to the donations and Becky’s efforts.
She said: “We got him a bedsit. He now has a completely different life. He was in a tent.
“He also now has a bike so he can go to and from appointments, lots of fishing tackle so he can go fishing.
“We used the money to kit his flat out and get him clothes. He’s doing really well. Our first success story.”