A KIND-HEARTED mum-of-three has hailed the ‘incredible’ response she’s received to setting up a clothes rail at Stretford Mall for people to donate warm clothing to those in desperate need over the winter months.
Caroline Tarpey, 41, has been inundated with donations, including more than 100 coats, within a week of launching her campaign to support the homeless and less fortunate in her hometown during the cold weather.
She has thanked Stretford Mall for supporting her idea and allowing her to set up the clothes rail next door to Bon Marche, as well as Peacocks who have donated hangers and even lent her one of their rails.
Caroline, who now lives in Northern Moor but grew up in Gorsehill where her dad still lives, works as a carer at the Christie Hospital – the largest cancer centre in Europe, treating 40,000 patients a year – and says it comes as second nature to her to try and help those in need.
She said: “Homelessness and the use of food banks is higher than ever. Times are really hard and a lot of people don’t have the money for basic things.
“I am passionate about giving back to where I was raised and helping the Stretford community. I’m sat in a nice warm house but not everyone is lucky enough to have that luxury.
“I came up with this idea and the response I had on Facebook was incredible. All the people who responded were from Stretford as well and I pretty much had ten donations instantly – it just snowballed.
“Initially my idea was just to have coats and then I received a donation of brand new Christmas jumpers from Momo Fashions on Longford Trading Estate, and now I’ve opened it up to any type of warm clothing.
“I’ve literally had hundreds of donations – costs, tracksuit tops, ear muffs, you name it. I’ve still got a car boot full! People have shown real Christmas and community spirit.
“I’m also really grateful to Stretford Mall for supporting me, I can’t thank them enough. The rail will he here for the winter months which is fantastic because the weather is awful at the moment and isn’t going to get any better.”
Caroline was also keen for her children – sons Rylan, 21, and Riordan, 11, and daughter Reya, 7 – to understand that not every child has the basic things that they take for granted.
She said: “As a mum it’s heartbreaking to think that there are children out there who don’t even have a warm coat.
“My children have each donated coats. Not everyone is as lucky as them and they understand that.
“My eldest is at university in Sheffield and he’s even got his student friends donating. It’s been a really amazing response.
“I had to replenish one rail after the first day and staff at the mall have said there is always someone looking at the rails.
“All I ask is that if you desperately need something or know someone who does then take it, but if you don’t at least swap it for one of your own items.”
Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall, said: “Caroline has come up with a wonderful idea to help those less fortunate during the bitterly cold, winter months and we were only too pleased to help accommodate her clothes rail at the mall.
“The response from local people has been heartwarming and just shows the fantastic community spirit we have here in Stretford.
“If anyone has a coat or item of warming clothing they no longer need or use then come down to the mall and donate it to the clothes rail.
“What may appear to them to be a small gesture could make a huge difference to someone’s life.”