Stockholm - Spread love
So I go home for christmas from Barcelona to Stockholm. I had heard there was a charity drive in the city for the homeless the same day, but didnt think about it much because I thought I would miss it anyways. But when I got the offer to join them in the cause, when they told me they needed photographers, and when I realized I would make it, I took the opportunity. I mean a person can only whine so much about not doing anything meaningful with their time and not do anything about it.
The organization is called “Sprid kärlek” - which means Spread love. (http://spridkarlek.se/) They gather every year, with donated clothes and food to look for homeless people around Stockholm city. Winter is really cold this year, and the snow is deep. So I landed, met the people in charge and other cool people who had joined the cause. We were briefed, got put in to small groups and set out on a route south of the city, with bags full of christmas presents and food. The challenge was finding them.
And it really was a challenge. Where do you go if its really cold outside? We found a few on small streets, looking in the trash for food or cans. And they seemed grateful and ofcourse sceptical to be getting free things. “No really, how much is it? Here, take my cans in exchange!”. Who would offer them something without a catch right? Sadly a very common and in many cases valid reaction.
After 2 hours we went back to square one, Medborgarplatsen metro stop. We knew we have seen people there before. And sure enough, when we got there we met these two sitting on the ground having a diskussion. They had just ran in to some of our other partners and had gotten some food. But they just really wanted to apologize to us, since for some reason he had been abit mean to them he said. He wanted us to pass on his apology. We dug up some gloves and a scarf for the cold for the girl, and the man was really happy about a warm sweater we gave him. It was really great seeing his smile when he put it on. They also told us that they had been in touch with a social security agent who has helped them to get signed in to a zero tolerance detox clinic, they would be going in a few weeks, and they seemed to be looking forward to it. Some hope.
I asked them if I could take a picture of them before we left and they said ok, but the man was abit uncomfortable with being in the shot so he found a solution.
Up next we ran in to some happy fellows in the metro exit warming themselves. They were heartwarmed by the food and the donations, and told us that there is a general lacking of empathy in society today. They were really happy to see that it still exists. One of the men told me that not too long ago he was laying infront of a radiator trying to warm himself, when someone passes by kicking him, telling him to get the hell out. He told him “Kick me one more time and you’ll be in the same position I am in right now.” He said it’s really easy getting to where he is right now, but people have no understanding.
In the end of the night I got to meet Jonas. He was really happy to see us, he wanted to know more about spread love, and he told me he was working for Situation Stockholm (http://www.situationsthlm.se/) A newspaper concentrated about and for homeless people, helping them, enlighting society about their problems, and giving work to the homeless. Jonas told me he was writing for the paper and is also taking photos. He had recently gotten enough money to buy a digital camera and he was really excited and proud of it and wanted to show me. He took a photo of us, so i got to take his.
The girl ran in to us in the same metro exit, carrying a tree for christmas. She got some warm gloves and was not opposed of being in the shot either which made me grateful.
Upon leaving, Jonas was really happy to have met us and really wanted to tell me things are going abit better for him, he had hope, he has the drive, and he gave me a big hug and dug up a gift for me in his pocket that he wanted me to have.
Spread love on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sprid-K%C3%A4rlek/277614615607376?fref=ts
Another worthy cause for those in Stockholm who dont have a place to celebrate christmas http://www.facebook.com/ProjektAllaVi