It’s great to see that from one volunteer’s idea in 2006, today, thousands of top business, community and political leaders are coming together on the same night across the entire country to raise money for a neglected part of our community. Vinnies CEO Sleepout raises millions of dollars every year. This money provides accommodation, meals and emergency services to hundreds of thousands of Australians. The event is also used to encourage a conversation amongst community leaders about the poverty crisis in Australia.
I think a lot of people don’t understand the process of becoming homeless. Sometimes it is assumed that they did it to themselves and it was an avoidable situation, but this could not be farther from the truth. Whether it be from poverty, unemployment, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, domestic violence or family instability, all are factors that contribute to homelessness. It is going to take a lot more than just money to fix their problems but awareness, understanding, support can be a start in the right direction.
It was a no-brainer when deciding to sign up. A colleague recommended it, and I thought to myself, “how could I not do it?” I am thankful to now be in the position to give back to a foundation that supported my family and me when I was young. It has been positive to see people from my business getting involved, helping myself and the cause and I am hoping that my participation has a multiplying effect in the number of people aware and supporting Vinnies in the future.
Let’s talk facts and figures quickly. Tonight, myself alongside 184 fellow CEOs are spending a night sleeping in the South Lawn Underground Carpark at The University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus. We are raising funds for the 13.3% of our population living below the poverty line. We are going to gain an insight into what 116,427 Australians are currently experiencing every night, rain, hail or shine. It will be a physically and emotionally challenging experience. The harsh conditions will make it difficult to sleep and the stories we will hear directly from those currently homeless will be heartbreaking, but it is all part of the process in giving back.
I am a father of two, and I hate to think of my children ever having to experience the struggles I went through when I was their age. It pains me to think that there are kids currently out there with no homes to go to and no food in front of them at dinner time. Although the sleepout is tonight, it is not too late to donate. My goal is to raise $5,000 that will contribute to Victoria’s $1,000,000 target. So, whether it is $205 which will give someone a bed or $55 that could feed a family or even $5, every donation can make a big difference to someone that has nothing. Check out Vinnies CEO Sleepout page and donate here today.