Cleaner's gesture to homeless

SHELLEY ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014
Amy Burke
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
KINDNESS: Amy Burke distributes food and clothing to homeless people on a no-questions-asked basis.

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Cleaner Amy Burke could no longer keep walking past the shivering forms of the city's homeless, huddled in doorways, after finishing her job in the Re:Start mall area each night.

Now the 36-year-old mother of four distributes warm clothing and food every night to the homeless in the central city.

Already word has got around of the woman with a carload of warm clothes, spaghetti toasties, boil-up and fresh fruit - and it's only been two weeks.

Twenty sleeping bags, 50 pairs of socks, gloves, beanies and warm layers have been distributed.

It is food and clothing with a no-questions-asked policy, said Burke.

"People have a right to be warm and fed. I'm not there to judge their circumstances, they need help. They don't even need to tell me their name," she said.

Burke gave a young teenaged boy the gloves off her own hands when she saw his were red with cold. She also dressed his injured hand.

"I'm a mum, whatever his circumstances you can't ignore that," she said.

People donate the clothing by contacting Burke on her Facebook page, Help for the homeless, Christchurch, and the New Brighton Project blanket bank keeps her stocked with blankets but the cost of the food comes out of her own pocket.

"We can afford to do this, we aren't living on the bones of our butts," she said.

Last Sunday she fed the homeless in the Re:Start mall food court but was told by management she couldn't do that any more.

Undeterred, Burke moved across the road and simply carried on.

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