Sunshine Coast Business Council board members are just some of almost 80 locals getting ready to rough it this month for the 2014 Sunshine Coast Vinnies Community Sleepout.
The sleepout is being held on Thursday, 26 June and raises essential funds for services that assist the homeless.
Sleepout participant and Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) Chair Sandy Zubrinich said despite the low temperatures predicted, she was looking forward to joining fellow SCBC members Peter Pallot, Ben Simpson, Peter Bolton-Hall, Simon Ambrose and Tony Vickers in taking part in the sleepout and raising awareness of Australia’s homelessness crisis.
“It’s alarming to think that more than 105,000 homeless Australians sleep rough on any given night, so it’s great to be taking part in this community initiative and shining the light on what is a very real problem in our society,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“It’s easy to take our warm houses and beds, as well as the food we put on the table for granted, and I’m sure the upcoming sleepout will be a real eye-opener for all involved.”
As part of the event, participants will be provided with a piece of cardboard to sleep on or build a shelter with, and a basic meal of soup, bread rolls, tea and coffee.
“The harsh reality is that while this seems so inadequate to many of us, it is often more than many homeless people have access to each day,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“Thousands of homeless people go hungry each week and it’s thanks to organisations like the St Vincent de Paul Society that many of them can access food, as well as warm clothing, blankets and support services.”
Ms Zubrinich said she and her colleagues had collectively raised more than $2,800 in sponsorships for the event, which would be donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society at the conclusion of the sleepout.
“By the time the event rolls around, we’re hoping to have increased this figure to $5,000,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“We’ll be trying our hardest this week to secure some more donations and increase awareness of this very worthy cause.”
St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland spokesperson Ian Laherty said more than $16,000 had already been raised by Sunshine Coast participants, and the organisation had its $50,000 target firmly in its sights.
“Generous donations for this event will be used to provide assistance to those facing homelessness in the wider Sunshine Coast community,” Mr Laherty said.
“We receive more than 100 calls a week from people in the community facing homelessness and the community sleepout provides a much needed boost towards delivering our programs and services.”
“We are hugely appreciative of all the community members taking part, as well as all the local businesses that have donated goods and services for the fundraising auction that will be held during the event.”
The 2014 Sunshine Coast Vinnies Community Sleepout will take place on Thursday, 26 June at the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club from 5.30pm until early the following morning. To make a donation, visit www.communitysleepout.org.au.