by | Dec 14, 2022 | Campaign, Community | 0 comments

In eight weeks, Steel City Insider managed to raise over £700, smashing the £500 goal, and collected over 200 clothing and hygiene items for The Sunday Centre Sheffield.

Many of the donations collected were handed out last Sunday, December 11, at the centre by their volunteering team, composed of Elena Baeza, campaign coordinator, and Liliya Arutyunyan, Steel City Insider reporter, among others.

Elena Baeza said: “It’s impossible to describe how it felt to hand out the clothes that myself and my team collected.

“I’ve been volunteering for The Sunday Centre for a while now. It’s so heartbreaking when somebody asks for something as basic as underwear and having to say, ‘I’m very sorry – we’ve run out’.

“We can never make promises. Whenever I take an order, I warn people: ‘I will try my best to find that for you, but I can’t assure you we’ll have that.’ Sometimes we do; sometimes we don’t. 

“But last Sunday was different because we had the usual donations plus the 200+ items our campaign collected. And, even though I could still not make any promises, it was soothing to know I would probably find what they asked for this time.”

Keep Sundays Warm started out as a campaign to help fund one day at the Sunday Centre, the only Sheffield-based charity supporting the homeless and vulnerable on Sundays. 

Two Steel City Insider reporters started volunteering there in October and learned The Sunday Centre does not just give out meals and shelter but also clothes. 

Elena said: “People kept coming to me, politely asking if I could provide them with clothing items like socks, coats, and hats, plus toiletries such as deodorant or toothpaste.

“Some of them were even shivering. And it was only October. 

“I thought to myself, ‘What will it be like when the winter actually comes?’”

As a result, Steel City Insider’s campaign soon has a second aim: to raise money and to collect clothes for The Sunday Centre.

After the aims were clear, the name for our campaign was decided – KEEP SUNDAYS WARM – representing what we intended to do. 

Steel City Insider started by setting up a fundraiser through GoFundMe, with an initial goal of £500. That soon increased to £600 thanks to the unanticipated response the fundraiser received.

In addition, the news organisation also collected clothes donations and hygiene items along the way.

Keep Sundays Warm made its success official with a ‘Clothes Donations Drop Off’ on December 7 at the Moor. Members set up a stall and remained there from 11:30 am to 5 pm, where they collected more clothes and raised money using a moneybox and a QR code linked to a GoFundMe, for those without cash.

In total, with all the money raised on the day and during the past eight weeks, it all came up to £725 – plus 138 clothing items and 66 toiletry items.

Campaigners then dropped off all donations at Victoria Hall, where the Sunday Centre offers its services. 

Stephen Clark, chair of The Sunday Centre, said: “I’m so grateful to the Steel City Insider team, particularly Elena and Liliya, for their hard work put into this campaign. The donations will make a huge difference to our charity we are so thankful for their help.”

To all who donated and supported the Keep Sundays Warm Campaign, we at Steel City Insider can not thank you enough!