Sheltersuits’ latest campaign got off to a good start with a great event at the Rembrandt Square in Amsterdam. To distribute the Sheltersuits to people that needed one, we asked several homeless organisations to get the word out. With the help of surrounding cafés, restaurants and hotels it became a great success. In total, 400 people in need gathered at the Rembrandt Square and got their own unique Sheltersuit and a hot meal.
The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness for people who are forced to sleep outside. As a result of a full homeless shelter or shelters with unsanitary and unsafe conditions, many see sleeping outside as their best alternative, with all its consequences. To create this awareness we got help of our sponsors Isobar, Posterscope, Clear Channel, JCDeceaux and Exterion Media. We confronted the Netherlands with the problem by placing 3500 posters at bus stops and other places throughout the country, raising awareness for the extreme conditions that a lot of homeless people have to endure whilst living on the street. Part of the campaign is that people can send a text message to donate three euros. We were thrilled to see that so many people felt connected to our cause and donated to help the ones in need.
In the morning we departed from Enschede with a van loaded with Sheltersuits. Once arrived in Amsterdam we started setting up the event, including food and drinks supplied by local businesses. They provided tasty stew, soup, coffee, tea, hot chocolate for the homeless and the supplies to make the event happen.
By the time the event officially started a queue of people eager for a Sheltersuit was formed. Many press came to see how the project would be received. We hope this media attention can help with bringing homelessness to attention.
In a short time we handed out the Sheltersuits and we were more than glad to hear all the positive reactions. Not only did we notice a slight relieve about finding warmth for the night, but the feeling being recognized as fellow citizens seemed just as important to the them.
Some people who were very happy with their new Sheltersuits kindly allowed us to take a picture of them wearing it, which resulted in great photographs, shot by René ten Broeke.
The foundation is now, among other things, focussing on improving the product even more. We listen to the users and their experiences to know what should be improved. For example, the next Sheltersuits will be produced in different sizes, will have inside pockets and the duffle bag will have extra features.
All in all, the event was a great success. We saw so many smiling faces and had many interesting conversations. We are very thankful to all the volunteers of the day for their work, the homeless for sharing their stories and organisations that were involved for the supplies!
Thank you NH Schiller, Hotel Atlanta, Escape, De Kroon, Van Rijn, Grand Cafe l’Opera, Café Tante Roosje, The Old Bell, Indrapura, 3 Sisters, De Zwart kraamverhuur and Starbucks for your help and contribution