Winter in Australia can be bitingly cold, especially for those who don’t have a home to go to. Each year motorcyclists from all over Australia kindly donate their old jackets to those in need, giving them to homeless community members in Sydney.
The AMCN Winter Jacket Drive, organised by Australian Motorcycle News (AMCN), Mission Australia, and Shannon’s Insurance, is an annual event and does a great deal to help those without a home to get through the coldest winter nights.
The organisation was pleased with the outcome of the jacket drive, with AMCN reporting that for the first time over the five year history of the event, they had enough jackets to meet the demand for them.
According to Mission Australia, cold weather causes a spike in demand for its services – particularly true this year with Sydney suffering bitterly cold weather.
“Our service is flat chat most of the time, but during rainy and cold weather, we really struggle to meet demand. We get calls both from people sleeping rough who are seeking shelter and warmth but also from concerned members of the public,” Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said. “We aren’t sure why the numbers are increasing but certainly the cold weather makes what is a difficult life even harder.”
It’s a difficult life that comes at a high social cost; a research report earlier this year (The Cost of Youth Homelessness in Australia) found that young people make up approximately 42% of the Australian homeless population. Being homeless made youth more likely to leave school early, making it far more difficult to secure future employment. This has long-term implications for financial security and psychological wellbeing.
Estimations are that there are approximately 44,000 young Australians under the age of 25 who are homeless.
Motorcycle jackets perfect weather protection
It makes sense for the jackets to be donated, as motorcycle jackets are made to protect, as well as keep the wearer dry and warm. As well as this, the jackets have a great deal of padding, which can make sleeping rough that little bit more comfortable.
They were certainly needed on the day that crews distributed them at a Homeless Connect event, and under the Woolloomooloo Bridge (where many homeless people reside). According to those who were there, it was raining heavily and there was a strong cold wind blowing through.
For some bikers, it might be hard to give away a beloved jack, but it is a small price to pay in order to keep someone else warm and dry through the coldest months of the year.
Jacket collection points were located in motorcycle dealerships and Shannon’s Insurance offices all over the country. The organisations involved greatly appreciated the ‘mountain of donations’ they received, and credited the success of the endeavour to the generosity of everyone who donated.