Heart-of-gold 11-year-old Joe Cox was so saddened by the sight on an increasing number of rough sleepers in his local area that he decided to take action.
His simple idea “Socks for the Street” – a charity project to collect new socks and underwear for the homeless – has touched the hearts of people in the local community and around the world from Texas to Australia.
Joe has also persuaded his school, Leith Primary, to be a drop-off point for people’s donations.
“I don’t like seeing homeless people cold and on the streets so I just thought I’d like to do something for them and we got in touch with Bethany Christian Trust who help the homeless.
“My mum set up a Facebook page which has now had more than 5,000 hits.
“We got my school involved and people can now drop-off their donations of new underwear and socks to the reception.
“It makes me feel good because I like to be helping out in the community and supporting worthy causes.”
Joe’s heartfelt campaign caught the eye of top soup eatery Union of Genius.
Founder Elaine Mason, who also supports the Bethany Christian Trust by offering hundreds of litres of soup to their Care Vans, was warmed into action after seeing Joe’s post.
“I was just knocked-out when I came across his page,” she said. “I was stunned that he was only 11.
“I have driven the care van on occasion for Bethany and it was only when I was out there that I realised the importance of the basics – the one thing you need are clean underwear and it’s the one thing no-one is going to have easy access to.
“I was astonished that someone his age had seen that – it is absolutely amazing. It’s sad that it’s a need but good that people are rallying around.”
Following World Homeless Day yesterday, charity Bethany Christian Trust said they were delighted to support Joe’s thoughtful efforts.
Care Van and Care Shelter manager Ruth Longmuir said: “We’re really excited to be working with Joseph on his Socks for the Street initiative, a very timely collection with the Care Shelter opening again for the winter.
“His passion to help those who are less fortunate than himself is evident and is clearly inspiring others to donate these items that are much appreciated by the people who use our services.
“The Care Van, run in partnership with Edinburgh City Mission, operates every evening and on four lunchtimes a week, providing free nutritious food and hot drinks to people who are rough sleeping or in temporary accommodation and with limited access to cooking facilities. The Care Shelter runs for 28 weeks over the winter months, moving around different church buildings and last night saw it open again for the season.”
Bethany Christian Trust aims to help people move on from homelessness and into accommodation as well as meeting their immediate needs and last winter welcomed an average of 49 people per night and helped over 700 people.
To donate online search for Socks for the Street on Amazon or drop in donations at Leith Primary School.