Published: 28th November 2019
Inspired by Bulgaria and Hungary, Bengaluru residents hang sweaters and jackets on trees for the needy
Ahead of the approaching winter, the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Forum members along with Kingdom College students donated 14 sweaters to the poor in a bid to keep them warm
In Bulgaria and Hungary, as the mercury drops, people hang jackets on trees, not as a symbolic ritual of sorts but to make them available for the poor and needy who cannot afford to keep warm during the winter months. A few days ago, one such photo went viral on Facebook. Srikanth VS, a member of Rajarajeshwari Nagar Residents Forum (RRF) came across this picture and decided to spearhead this initiative in his area also. He says, "We all know that winters in Bengaluru can get harsh and people working in construction sites or sleeping on footpaths suffer as a result. Hence, we started this initiative called Free on Tree only yesterday. Apart from the members in RRF group, the students from Kingdom College in our locality also joined us for this cause."
Initially, Srikanth did not ask for sweaters or donations from anyone. Along with a friend, he invested some amount and got around 14 sweaters. They went to different locations including Jayanna Circle, Ideal Home Circle, Marappa Layout and RR Nagar bus depot and put up these jackets on trees. Along with the jackets, they also wrote a message in Kannada and English saying, 'Take it if you need it- It's free.' After propping the jackets on the trees the first time, Srikanth and his team members stood at some distance to watch that the jackets reach the right hands. "We were happy to watch many people from construction sites, including an autorickshaw driver, a woman with a child came near the tree and read the message. They slowly unzipped the jackets and picked it up for themselves," says Srikanth who will continue this initiative.
A woman who is need of jacket picks one from the tree
After watching Srikanth and college students, many residents have come forward to donate old or used sweaters. In the coming days, he plans to set up collection points in Rajarajeshwari Nagar to collect these sweaters or even blankets and distribute them to the needy during weekends. He adds, "What we are doing is an act of kindness. In a few days, we will start something called a Wall of Kindness so that people can come and leave unused things in this place. People who need them can pick it up."
A jacket tied to tree so that people who are in need of it can pick it up
Donating sweaters to poor people especially during winters is a common culture in other countries. Last year, Oliver Edwards, a 10-year-old boy from Hobart in Australia came up with a similar initiative called Free On A tree for homeless people and charity organisations. He was given a homework challenge that required him to come up with an idea to help his community. It was the time when Hobart was badly hit with floods. That's when this idea struck him and he discussed it with his mother Cathy Edwards. The duo decided to collect used overcoats, sweaters and jackets from people and hung them on the trees so that the poor people could use them. This initiative became a huge success and got him lots of love too.