Initiative by 11-year-old SVP supporter will help thousands

  • Anita Boniface

Finn Collins

Finn Collins

A kind-hearted and thoughtful 11-year-old boy, who wanted to do something to help the homeless cope with the cold this winter, has came up with a great idea. Finn Collins, from Whitstable in Kent, was looking through SVP cold weather packs - known as Vinnie Packs - which his mother was distributing to the homeless when he noticed that something was missing.

"I had really dry lips at the time and it was making me really uncomfortable," he said. "I thought about homeless people who must get really sore lips as they are outside all the time and decided it would be nice if the Vinnie Packs had lip balms in them."

Finn started raising funds for the idea and collecting money from school, from friends, from his local church and he even did a radio interview to tell people about his idea. He has now collected over £250 and motivated the manufacturers of Blistex to donate 6000 lip balms to support his mission.

Finn's mum Angela says her son suffers from anxiety because he has Asperger syndrome. But she says doing this has really boosted his confidence and helped him realise he can help to change other people's lives. "I'm a very proud mother", she says.

Vinnie Packs have been produced by volunteers from the charity, the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) since 2011. Each pack contains cold weather essentials including a thermal hat and gloves, socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, pen and information sheet. This year 12,000 of the packs will distributed to homeless people across England and Wales.

SVP organiser Siobhan Garibaldi said what Finn has done is fantastic. "There's been a lot of doom and gloom in the press recently so to hear a story of a young lad who of his own volition decided to raise money for a good cause was very touching." She says his actions show that "with some determination and a kind heart we can achieve a lot."

Finn hopes to continue his good work and do more fundraising. He has already made a YouTube video about homelessness. Next on his agenda is the refugee crisis. He says "it would be really great if other young people decided to do something to help people in need. It's not difficult and it's fun."

To donate to Vinnie Packs text: VINP33 and the £[amount] to 70070, or donate online at:

Tags: Finn Collins, Siobhan Garibaldi, SVP, Vinnie packs

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