Rasen boy helps the homeless
But Rasen lad Murrey Chapman (11) has been collecting for and donating to The Nomad Trust - a Lincoln homeless charity - for five years, since he was just six years old.
It all started on a family trip to London in the summer of 2012 to see the Olympic parade. The occasion was the first ever day out in the nation’s capital for Murrey, who also plays football for Lincoln City under 11s.
Mum Natalie Chapman told the Mail: “Because it was his first trip to London, Murrey had never experienced homelessness on that kind of scale.
“He was really touched by all the people he saw and couldn’t stop asking me questions and for money to give to them.
“We started thinking about all the things you might need if you were homeless and came up with the idea of filling shoeboxes for Christmas with useful items .
“They get filled with things like gloves, scarves, hats, umbrellas, torches, lip balm, handcream, wipes and toiletries and also foods like biscuits, cereal bars and festive treats.
“People put all sorts in there, like hand warmers and little puzzle games.
“We contacted the Nomad Trust and they have been so helpful and grateful for these boxes for five years now.
“These are given out Christmas morning to the ones who stayed in the Nomad Trust on Christmas Eve, and we know they are so gratefully received.’
Natalie told the Mail that she was very grateful to friends and family who help fill the shoeboxes for Murrey’s initiative.
“I often just rely on the power of Facebook to get them filled,” Natalie added.
“I posted a status appealing for boxes and I always get an overwhelming response. We usually fill more than thirty boxes.
“People often see social media as quite a negative thing but I think it’s important to recognise that it can be used in a really positive way as well and can hugely benefit people.”
Natalie also highlighted the fact that efforts like Murrey’s are not just needed and appreciated in Lincoln.
“I was driving through Cleethorpes with the Christmas boxes in the car and came across a homeless man, so I stopped and gave him one, Natalie said.
“His eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning and he was honestly so very grateful. It was my first ever experience of anything like that and it really hits home that there is so much to be done. Homelessness is epidemic in this country.
“It makes me wish we could take the Grimsby area on too but it’s just too much to manage.
“It would be great if someone could take on a similar appeal for that area.
“So many people want to do something to help, it’s just finding the opportunity.
“It’s nice for kids to get involved as it helps them realise that they are so lucky to live without disadvantages.
“The Middle Rasen Rainbows created a wonderful box too. It is nice to know young children are being made aware.”
Murrey’s work has also been recognised by the YMCA. In 2015 he won an award for his ‘contributions to the community’ and was invited to attend a lovely ceremony.