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20 August 2020
Kevin Lawler (pictured), a member of Gold Coast Salvos, is also a volunteer at Southport Courthouse. He helped get the coat tree started, just near the courthouse. Now, the Salvos and members of the community keep the tree supplied. Photo KianWorthingPhotography.
Words Simone Worthing
Even on Queensland’s Gold Coast, it gets cold during winter! So, this year, the Salvos started a ‘coat tree’ there, hanging warm coats and jackets on a tree in a park for those experiencing homelessness or going through tough times. If someone needs a warm coat, they can go to the tree to find one. If someone has a spare coat or wants to donate one, they can hang it on a coat tree for a person in need.
“It’s a great connection point to start up conversations with people, many of them homeless, going in and out of court,” said Kevin. “The local community and council are also on board and supportive of the trees.”
Different organisations and communities around the country have also set up coat trees to help those experiencing homelessness keep warm this winter.
Ten-year-old Oliver Edwards, from Hobart, Tasmania, came up with the coat tree idea in winter 2018. He called it ‘Free on a Tree’.