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Sacks of seasonal goodwill

jpco 20-11-13  Lee Parker is organising a rucksack project which invites people to fill a rucksack with goodies which will be given out to people at Open House just before Christmas  (Pic by Jon Rigby)

jpco 20-11-13 Lee Parker is organising a rucksack project which invites people to fill a rucksack with goodies which will be given out to people at Open House just before Christmas (Pic by Jon Rigby)

A charitable Broadfield man handed out six carloads of goody bags to the homeless.

Lee Parker, 31, and his friends - some of whom have been homeless - gave 90 rucksacks filled with sleeping bags, clothes, toiletries and mince pies to people at shelters in Crawley and Brighton on December 22.

Lee, who promoted the event for three months while holding a full-time job as a security guard, said: “They just had the most amazing smiles on their faces.

“They said not many people seem to care about them.”

He added: “The project’s really opened a lot of people’s eyes.

“When they donated, the people said they could sleep at night knowing that they’ve helped people - that’s what I like hearing.”

Peter Mansfield-Clark MBE, director of Crawley Open House homeless shelter, said: “Everyone was overjoyed to see Lee bring them in as rucksacks are hardly ever donated to us and they really are invaluable.

“Every donation is important to us and Lee’s in particular as it included rucksacks which are invaluable to people living on the street, they have a lot of trouble keeping their belongings together and ordinary bags or suitcases are just not suitable.”

Lee was inspired to take on Crawley’s first Rucksack Project - a nationwide movement in aid of the homeless - after he and his friends came across its website earlier this year.

He used his 6,000-strong following on Facebook - which he uses as a platform to promote charitable causes - to spread the word.

He said: “We didn’t realise how bad the homeless are suffering out there until we actually saw this on their website and thought, we really want to help.”

Lee has worked for charity every year after he helped build a school in Hungary for a Prince’s Trust course in his late teens. He joined the course while he was staying at Crawley Foyer.

He said: “That’s what changed me to helping other people.

“I’ve never stopped helping people since then.”

Lee and his girlfriend are expecting twin boys. The father-to-be said he would take a break from his charity work next year so he could focus on being a parent.

 

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