A CARLOW BUSINESSMAN says that he has “started a fire” with a new idea to help Ireland’s homeless people.
Kevin Kelly is a flood and fire restoration specialist. When in a home damaged by flooding just two weeks ago, he came across three jackets that were to be thrown out.
He decided that they could still be used, so had them dry cleaned and planned to give them to homeless people in Dublin.
That simple idea sparked an idea in Kevin, who rang his wife Sue to ask for her help in coming up with a name.
Within minutes, The Jacket Off Your Back was born.
The concept is simple: people who no longer need or want a coat can hand it to a collection point in towns across the country and it is then dry cleaned and brought to shelters and homeless services who express a need.
In just two weeks, the group has racked up over 1,400 likes on Facebook and deliveries start today.
“I put it up on Facebook and people started replying to us and dropping coats,” Kevin toldTheJournal.ie.
“The first delivery went this morning to Tipperary and tomorrow we’re meeting a group Tallaght.
“Shelters will email me and we’ll drop them to them within a few days.
“We currently have collectors in 20 towns across Ireland, but we want to get one in every town.”
As a man whose business is at its busiest around this time of year, Kelly started the idea when he was also at his busiest, but he believes in seeing it through – even if that means driving to Turkey.
“I believe that if you start something, you finish it. We’re taking all kinds of jackets. If the childrens’ jackets can’t be used, we’ll send them to a refugee camp in Turkey. Even if I have to drive them there myself.”