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When the kids at this quiet elementary school in England were tasked with renaming their buildings, they never thought it would bring them international attention.

For the students of Bridge Farm Primary School, their mission was to rename several of the school's houses after notable people associated with the city of Bristol. The kids, ages 5 to 11, suggested names and voted for their favorites.


Named "houses" are an important part of the British school system. Yes, like in Harry Potter. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Among the winners were "Cabot," after John Cabot, the 15th century explorer; "Blackbeard," after the pirate; and "Banksy," after the infamous, as-yet-unidentified street artist who got his start in the Bristol underground art scene.

Banksy is one of the most well-known artists of our time. Sort of.

A legend of the street art movement, Banksy's iconic stencil work and provocative installations have appeared all over the world, sparking controversy, debate, discussion, and intrigue — not to mention millions of dollars at art auctions.

Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images.

Yet despite how recognizable his artwork is, little is known about the artist. He's managed to keep his identity secret all this time and simply pops up in the middle of the night, leaving deceptively simple, thought-provoking artwork in his wake — and never revealing where in the world he'll show up next.

So you can imagine how surprised these kids were to find a brand-new Banksy piece on the wall of their school building when they returned from holiday break.

That's right. Banksy had come to the school and painted a 14-foot mural to thank the kids.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

The painting is of a child rolling a hoop on a field containing a single flower — a reference to a Victorian-era game for schoolchildren. Only, as you can see, the hoop has been replaced with a burning tire. It's typical Banksy — dark and edgy, but also playful.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Banksy also left a note for the kids, thanking them and encouraging them to add to the mural if they "don't like it."

Although, frankly, there's a very small chance any of them won't like it.


“Dear Bridge Farm School,” Banksy's letter reads. “Thanks for your letter and naming a house after me. Please have a picture, and if you don’t like it, feel free to add stuff. I’m sure the teachers won’t mind. Remember, it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission. Much love, Banksy."


I have to say, it's pretty nice to see Banksy's sweet side.

After all, he's an elusive artist whose work is often dark, politically charged, and, by its very nature, illegal. That said, he remains an important and iconic voice in the art world.

But once, he was just a kid from Bristol.

Clearly, he hasn't forgotten that, so it's awesome to see him give back (in some small way) to that community — and encouraging kids to be creative in their own way is a message we can all get behind.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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