The icy chill of winter is here, and Muslim Aid’s Rucksack Challenge is now in full swing. Packing essentials like gloves, hats and sleeping bags into rucksacks, those who have taken up the challenge are reaching out to those who will face the harshest effects of this season without a roof over their head or proper clothes to keep warm. Earlier this week, Muslim Aid Fundraising Officer Adnan Iqbal from Manchester took up the challenge and packed a rucksack for Dean, a local man who had been taking shelter in a shopping centre car park.
“I see him all the time when I walk home, but I usually just walk past”, Adnan said. This time however, Adnan’s gesture of reaching out and sharing the rucksack brought unexpected joy and warmth for both of them. After receiving the bag of winter essentials, Dean told Adnan that despite facing such tough circumstances, he had never even had a sleeping bag. This came as quite a shock, especially given that temperatures are hovering just above freezing in many parts of the UK.
Those sleeping rough on the streets are often forgotten or ignored, but the video of Adnan’s act of kindness created an online buzz. Many are now signing up to join the rucksack challenge and many more posted their messages of support on Facebook and other social media channels. Among the messages, however, Adnan was astonished when he was contact by a person who said that they recognised Dean, and that he was her neighbour about ten years ago. This certainly goes to show that any one of us can fall on hard times and find ourselves in the toughest of circumstances. We hope that Adnan’s small act of kindness makes a huge difference for those who are sleeping rough this winter.