Based on feedback from various organisations who work with the homeless the initial aim was to supply 200 bags, however, a large organisation called MAPS Algarve working across 8 Municipalities highlighted a further 600 homeless who would benefit from the campaign. An ambitious revised total of 760 bags became the campaign target. Eve Clifton the organiser of this campaign says, “the response from the public has been incredibly generous in terms of physical bags donated and financial donations, to the point, the challenge became sourcing enough suitably warm sleeping bags in time for Christmas.”

As the campaign grew the logistics became more challenging and a massive thank you must be extended to the Manager of Sportzone in Tavira, Rui, who arranged with his Head Office to get one of their sleeping bags into the Black Friday sales, so over 200 bags were bought at a 20% discount. As purchases were dependant on donations being made, Eve relied on friends to bulk order bags from Amazon, unfortunately, they weren't to know Amazon would send out an order of 30 bags in individual boxes or two at a time! A further set back was a last minute, retraction of an offer from someone to buy and deliver 40 sleeping bags which meant a last-minute appeal to raise further public donations to cover these additional bags and get them ordered in time for Christmas.”

By the Friday before Christmas, 794 bags were delivered to organisations helping the homeless in Lagoa, Portimão, Lagos, Albufeira, Quarteira, Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and VRSA, 5 weeks since the campaign launched. Many thanks to public generosity and various groups/charities/businesses including East Algarve Walking Football & East Algarve F.C; Tavira 2nd Chance; Arm in Arm Charity; Associação de Caridade Mãos de Ajuda (Helping Hands Charity); Igreja Anglicana S Vicente Church and Algarve Express for their donations. Over €16.500 was raised and surplus donations have enabled the purchase and delivery of further items highlighted as urgent, including hats, gloves, socks, underwear, waterproofs and toiletries, as well as an ongoing collection of clothing and shoes.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

Want to get involved? Below is a summary of the Associations that benefited from the campaign. Ideally directly contact the Association in advance if you want to volunteer your time or items as some do not have the storage space available to receive well-meaning but unexpected donations. Food donations are of course welcomed and include tinned food that can be eaten hot or cold such as hotdogs, meatballs and tuna which are ideal to give for meals when soup kitchens are closed. Toiletries such as shower gel, shampoo, wet wipes, hand sanitiser, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving foam, disposable razors, ladies’ sanitary products, lip salve, 1st aid kits. When donating clothing, think practical as the recipients sleep in their clothing (e.g. no jeans); trainers are the preference but there is a shortage of shoes in men’s 42, 43 and 44 sizes. Finally consider slipping a packet of underwear or socks into your next shop!

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

Highlight on Associations that benefited from the 2023 Help the Homeless Campaign

Somos Esperança - Associação de Solidariedade in Olhão

This is a small non-profit association that supports 35 families (with ~ 35 kids) with a monthly community larder and serves daily lunch to the 16 homeless (the eldest in their 70s) who can come daily for a hot shower and to use the laundry facilities before sitting together in the dining room. They have a clothes ‘shop’ for women, children and men’s items, as well as a separate store selling furniture and household items (open every day in the afternoon and all-day Tuesday). However, those in need can browse the rails, try on clothes, and take for free whatever they need. For those who can afford to pay, no money changes hands, rather for clothing you bring tinned goods and, in the furniture store each piece is valued and then payment ideally is in that value in fish or meat! This store is also for those climbing back on the ladder who need to kit out full homes or just a few items, they browse and choose the items they want but don’t have to pay. Every morning a volunteer goes to the local Auchan and receives the food that can no longer be sold in the store, they then receive ad hoc donations from the public.

Contact: Patricia Guerreiro - (+351) 914 487 147

Rua Almirante Reis 145, Olhão


FB: Somos Esperança – Associação de Solidariedade

Instagram: loveforall.olhao

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

Portimão Soup Kitchen

They help both the homeless and feed individuals/families in need, the youngest of which is a 10-year-old Ukranian boy. Of the approximate 160 people who regularly come 3 times a week; Sundays 12.30-1.30, Tuesdays & Thursdays 5.30-6.30 there is approximately 60 homeless of mixed nationalities, both men and women between the age of 20-70 years old. Unfortunately, they are not in a position to offer shower or washing facilities and due to limited space they do not have the ability to store clothing.

Contact: (+351) 917 358 098

Tv. de São José, 8500-690 Portimão

FB: Portimão Soup Kitchen

Cruz Vermelha (Red Cross) - Faro/Loulé

They have 26 regular homeless that they support, offering various assistance including clothing and food, however they are not in a position to offer shower or washing facilities.

Contact: Ana Palmeira

Tel: (+351) 289 899 903

Rua Dr. Justino Cúmano Nº 1, 8000-333 Faro


MAPS Algarve

MAPS (Movimento de Apoio Problematica da Sida SEDE) is a large organisation that works across 8 municipalities (Lagoa, Portimão, Lagos, Quarteira, Loulé, Faro, Tavira, VRSA). They receive some Government funding for certain roles they take on - e.g. the HIV/Hepatitis testing bus is funded by the health service. In Faro there are 9 rooms for temporary accommodation based on assessment, a kitchen and common room. Here the homeless can have a shower, get clothing and a meal, as well as being supported by psychiatrists, social workers and health workers. 90% of the homeless are men from 18 years upwards - a mix of nationalities and as expected addiction problems. However, after assessment those who are applying for jobs can use the MAPS address to help them and it should be noted that some who get back on their feet then volunteer for MAPS. As well as helping the homeless the Faro HQ provide 178 families many with kids with monthly food packages.

Contact: (+351) 289 887 190

Avenida Cidade de Hayward, Blocos C1/D2, Caves, Faro, Portugal, 8000-074


FB: Maps Algarve

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

C.A.S.A Albufeira

C.A.S.A – Centro de Apoio ao Sem Abrigo – Delegação Albufeira daily feed and offer help for ~70 homeless in Albufeira and then deliver food to more who cannot get into town, as well as offering a monthly food hamper to around 60 families in need. They do not have the facilities for showers or washing of clothes but do provide clothing, toiletries and hygiene products.

Contact: Patricia Cruz

Tel: (+351) 289 513 551 – (351) 964 181 008

Estrada Vale de Pedras 9, 8200-047 Albufeira

FB: CasaAlbufeira

The Mustard Seed Association - Lagos

Mustard Seed in Lagos helps local Lagos families in need including 10 homeless individuals who received a sleeping bag. They have a second-hand shop selling clothing and furniture to help raise much needed funds.

Contact: Daniel Saunite

Tel: (351) 282 100 565

Rua Infante Sagres 105, Lagos, Portugal, 8600-743


FB: The Mustard Seed & Gallery2Hand