Carol Byrne from Walton started HEARTS4Homeless after she and husband Tony talked to and helped a homeless man called Peter while they were on a night out in the city centre
A mother and daughters team from North Liverpool has launched a fundraising platform to help support Liverpool’s rough sleepers with food, clothing and friendly conservation.
Mum Carol Byrne, along with daughters Shaunni and Shannon, say that since they launched HEARTS4Homeless they have delivered thousands of meals, warm clothing and sleeping bags to vulnerable men and women as well as food for their pet companions.
The inspiration for HEARTS4Homeless came after Carol and her husband Tony, who live in Walton, struck up a conversation with Peter, a homeless man, during a night out in Liverpool.
The pair were so moved by his story that Tony took off his coat and gave it to the young man, who had been sleeping rough on the city’s streets for several months.
The chance meeting was to have a profound impact on the whole family. Carol said: “Peter’s reaction when Tony gave him his coat was just overwhelming for me.
“To see what that small act of kindness did for him, how it lifted him – not just for the warmth of the jacket but for the fact that someone had bothered to speak to him and engage with him as a human being – really touched me.
“It sounds dramatic, but that chance meeting with Peter that night changed my life.
“It made me question how much I opened my eyes to see those less fortunate than myself, how much of a positive difference I was capable of making to the lives of others around me. It felt like there was no going back.”
Carol started taking warm clothing and food parcels into the city on a weekly basis and, inspired by their mum’s new zest for life, daughters Shaunni, 25, and Shannon, 19, were soon helping her out too.
They officially launched their fundraising platform in September.
As well as making a big difference to the lives of vulnerable people in Liverpool, Carol says the launch of HEARTS4Homeless has had some unexpected additional benefits.
She said: “For years I suffered with acute depression, which meant that for days at a time I would be bed-bound, unable to get up to face the world.
“Launching HEARTS4Homeless has turned my life around – I no longer suffer like I did before, I feel like a completely new person.”
HEARTS4Homeless collects donations of food, clothing and other essentials which it then distributes at least once a week in Liverpool city centre.
Their temporary kitchen at St Luke’s Church on Berry Street provides rough sleepers with a home-cooked hot meal, a packed lunch, hot drink, toiletries, clean clothing and underwear.
To make a donation to HEARTS4Homeless click here.