Jewish friends and siblings who set up a social enterprise last year have completed a “mass drop-off” of clothing and kit to rough sleepers in London on World Homelessness Day.
Volunteers for Linkey – co-founded by brother and sister team Natasha Langleben and Josh Adley – delivered items like jackets, sleeping bags and toiletries to rough sleepers and shelters around the capital on Wednesday evening, as part of the worldwide drive.
A team of 28 travelled around the city in seven cars, distributing items paid for by supporters, and met more than 60 of London’s homeless.
“We heard comments like ‘Christmas has come early,’ they were just so grateful for the items they received,” said Langleben.
“We met people who instantly put their jackets on. One man, called Dennis, was eager to pose for a photo in his new gear. We also met Grace, just out of hospital with pneumonia, who has been on the streets for 18 months. Then there was Andrew in Shoreditch, who couldn’t stop thanking us.”
The initiative was set up in 2017 after a chance encounter between Adley, from Finchley, and an elderly homeless man outside Barnet Everyman just before Christmas.
The man asked if Adley knew of any hostels or shelters nearby. Together with his sister, Natasha, the pair searched local shelters, but found most needed referrals, which led to their decision to act – and to involve friends.
The team received a financial boost earlier this year when an undercover journalist filming them for a Channel 5 programme turned out to be a millionaire who subsequently donated a van and £15,000.
“We’re not saving lives,” said Langleben this week. “But people are on the streets and winter is approaching, so if we can make people’s night that bit more comfortable, in the face of stats telling us of hundreds of homeless deaths in the past year, then it’s worth it.”
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