8-Year-Old Celebrates Birthday By Tying Coats To Lamp Posts For Homeless

One of the most important things to have during the winter months is a nice, warm coat. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity that many go without, and that’s why this mom’s genius idea for donating coats is spreading around the internet like wildfire.

A Canadian mom and her daughter are tying coats to lamp posts so anyone who needs one can come up and take it. The coats are all different sizes and styles, and each one has a tag that reads, “I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm!” Several people have posted photos of the coats on Facebook, which are quickly being passed around as users try to make the idea go viral.

According to the Daily Mail, the idea originated with 27-year-old Tara Atkins after she brought a group of kids downtown to distribute the coats as part of her daughter’s eighth birthday celebration. Atkins took her daughter, six of her daughter’s friends, and some other adults on a two-hour drive to Halifax, where they tied coats and other winter supplies to dozens of structures around the city. She shared photos of the event on her Facebook page:

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Atkins tells the Daily Mail that donating the coats is not just about homelessness, but “about helping anyone in need in general.” She adds, “We always try to reach out to as many groups as we can, especially during the holidays. When you’ve been where you didn’t know whether you’d be able to buy groceries or not, it gives you a real sense of wanting to give back.”

Since the coat photos started going viral, copycats have popped up in other parts of Canada and in the U.K. The Metro wrote about coats appearing on the streets in Sunderland and cautioned people not to take them down. Commenters on a Huffington Post piece about the coats also mentioned seeing them in Toronto and throughout parts of Ontario.

Most shelters accept donations of coats, hats, scarves, and other winter necessities, but that doesn’t always ensure they make their way into the hands of those who need them. By leaving them directly on the street, they’re available to the mom who can’t afford one after buying coats for her kids, or the broke college student who doesn’t have a budget for anything more expensive than Ramen noodles. Anyone in need can find them.

Plus, in distributing the coats downtown, Atkins gave her daughter and her friends an incredible lesson about kindness and created a whole new generation of givers. The attention their outing is getting will undoubtedly inspire more people to go out and leave donations of their own, and many more people will have winter coats this year because of their generous efforts. Kudos to this mom for a truly awesome and creative idea that does so much good for so many people.