In France, clothes are being hung up in the street for the homeless to take

Clothes are hung from trees or left on benches, free for homeless people to take.
Clothes are hung from trees or left on benches, free for homeless people to take.

An organisation in Paris has come up with an original way of getting people to donate warm clothes to the homeless: by asking them to simply hang them up in the street.

The idea first took root in Canada and in Turkey, and has since spread to Bristol, England. Now, the idea has hit the suburbs of Paris. The organisation Force Comm’UNE dubbed the campaign ‘Hang up your clothes!’ [“Accroche ton vêtement”], and launched the campaign in Cergy, a city to the northwest of Paris.

Warm clothing like jumpers and scarves are put on hangers, covered in a waterproof cover and often tagged with a note explaining that they’re for people in need. “I’m not lost, I’m for you if you’re cold”, is one of the typical messages left on the labels.

The idea has also been used elsewhere in France: from the northwestern suburb of Pré-Saint-Gervais, to the town of Limoges, to the western coastal town of La Rochelle, and a secondhand clothes shop in Lens. It was also used in central Paris at the beginning of March, during a cold snap that hit the capital. “The idea is to donate an item of clothing, whether it’s a coat, a jumper or a scarf, and to add a kind message for the person who’s going to receive it,” explains Sabrina, the president of Force Comm’UNE.

Force Comm’UNE doesn’t plan on stopping the project when summer rolls around, and they encourage anyone to follow their example in their own community.

This article was written with journalist Morgane Potrel.