Volunteers helping the homeless appeal for much-needed donations
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A group of volunteers dedicated to helping the homeless have issued an urgent appeal for further donations.
Help Us Help Them was founded in December last year by Stacey Drennan, who noticed that the number of people sleeping on the streets of Lowestoft had worsened in the months leading up to Christmas.
Amid bitterly cold temperatures, he and his partner, Donna Salter, and stepdaughter, Ebony Salter, began taking to the streets on a weekly basis to provide the town's homeless with much-needed food supplies, toiletries, clothing and sleeping bags.
The winter months may be long gone, but Mr Drennan says the not-for-profit organisation is currently in desperate need of regular donations to sustain its activity.
'It's been a very challenging time for us,' he said. 'A few people have helped us out but the reality is we need more supplies. Fruit's a big thing for us because we're very keen to keep things healthy.
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'If we don't get the necessary donations, we simply can't carry on doing what we're doing.'
Volunteers for Help Us Help Them meet at 6pm every Wednesday evening, positioning themselves outside Shake and Cake in the Britten Centre and Starbucks on London Road North on an alternate basis.
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One of Mr Drennan's long-term aims is to boost the group's capacity to help the homeless by becoming a registered charity, but he admits that remains an unlikely prospect while it necessitates an income of more than £5,000 per year.
For now, the goal is to continue catering for Lowestoft's homeless community and assist those who find themselves with very little - a demographic that seems to be growing, according to the group founder.
'Unfortunately we're seeing more and more people come to us in comparison to when we started out,' added Mr Drennan. 'We tend to help the same people every week and on average there are about 10 or 12, but we've had as many as 18 in the past.
'The scary thing is that, if we weren't there, a lot of the people we help would have absolutely nothing.'
Anyone can volunteer for Help Us Help Them, which meets every Wednesday evening outside either Shake and Cake or Starbucks in Lowestoft. Visit the Help Us Help Them Facebook page for more information.