jackets on light posts
© @Grady_Trimble / NEWS CENTER / Twitter
A Portland student's simple gesture of goodwill is reminding the world that you don't need deep pockets to be able to help people in need.

As temperatures drop with each passing winter's day, Gabby Kaper decided to tape heavy jackets to lampposts in downtown Portland for any homeless people feeling the cold.

The sight of jackets attached to the street lights caused a mini mystery until good Samaritan Kaper stepped forward.

The 20-year-old spent just $5 on chunky coats at a thrift shop before wrapping them around streetlights along with the message: "I am not lost! Please take me if you need me."

She told the Portland Press Herald how she took advantage of a $1 sale at her local charity store after hearing about a similar effort in another state.

"I went around and picked out the heaviest coats I could get," she explained.

The jackets were all reportedly picked up and the young lady now hopes her act of kindness can inspire others during the Christmas holidays.

"Every single one of us can make a difference... I hope everyone tries this, it's inexpensive and can mean the world to someone," she said on Facebook.

Other good Samaritans have been posting their messages of support for the idea across social media.

"Such a wonderful and thoughtful thing to do. Definitely gonna try this because of you," said one woman.

"You have such a big heart and are such a good person, good job!" wrote another.

Perhaps the inspiration for Ms Kaper, Canadian Tara Smith-Atkins carried out a similar good deed in the city of Halifax.

Last month, she brought her eight-year-old daughter and several of her friends out to wrap coats and scarves around street poles for those without shelter.

More than half a million people are thought to be homeless in the world's richest country including 45,000 children, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Portland's state of Oregon has seen a big drop in the number of homeless people in recent years, while the figure is up in the home of Wall Street billionaires, New York.

'Change in overall homelessness, 2013-2014'  map
© enhomelessness.org
Change in overall homelessness, 2013-2014