‘Free on a tree’ 10-year-old boy hangs coats on trees to help the homeless

A 10-year-old boy has touched people’s hearts after he turned a school assignment into a fully functioning initiative that helps homeless people in his community.

Oliver Edwards started the Free On A Tree initiative, which sees him leave winter coats on trees for those in need, in response to the flooding which hit his home town of Hobart, Tasmania, in May.

‘I heard about the floods and the people that were camping at the Showgrounds,’ he told ABC Australia.

‘We put coats on trees and then people [who] need them and are cold can take them.’

Alongside his mother, Cathy Edwards, the pair wrap second-hand coats around trees with a note reading: ‘Free on a tree: If you need this, it’s yours’.

The boy’s heart warming idea is being expanded to different parts of Tasmania after his idea attracted the attention of many news outlets in Australia, and now around the world.

There are also multiple donation points in Hobart now where people can drop their second-hand coats, which will be picked up and hung on trees in public spaces around the city.

Cathy admitted that she and Oliver think carefully about where to pin the coats, making sure they choose a public place where the coats would stand out while also offering some privacy.

‘Just trying to really make it accessible and also to give people a little bit of privacy around taking a coat,’ she explained.

‘It’s not always easy to ask for help.

‘In Hobart, we’ve got these little pockets of homelessness. It’s pretty grim out there, so it’s nice to be able to do a tiny little bit. Even if it’s just a few people knowing that there are people out there who care.’

Many people have since commented on the Free On A Tree’s Facebook’s page, with one person writing: ‘Congrats Oliver. You have a big heart and an even bigger future ahead of you. The world needs more people like you. Keep thinking outside the box.’