Braving the elements
PEOPLE participating in the South Gippsland Winter Sleep Out last Friday night walked away from the event having learnt a number of things.
Cardboard boxes make good shelters, you can never wear too many warm clothes when it’s only five degrees Celsius, and sleeping is difficult on concrete without a mattress were just a few.
But first and foremost, they truly understood how lucky they were to have a good breakfast and a hot shower to go home to the next morning, and were thankful they could catch up on their lost shut-eye in a comfortable bed.
Unfortunately, others are not so lucky.
Nineteen people took part in the sleep out at Leongatha to raise awareness for homelessness in South Gippsland and to raise money for the Salvation Army.
South Gippsland Salvation Army Captain Martyn Scrimshaw said the event was a great success.
“We raised well over $2500, taking the Red Shield Appeal total to around $17,000, which is the highest we’ve ever raised before,” he said.
“I think the night was awesome. One of the things I’ve got a new found respect for is cardboard boxes!”
The night kicked off near the Leongatha Memorial Hall with live music and a cup of hot soup, with members of the community joining in before their braver companions took to their sleeping bags.
Fortunately, despite rain during the night, boxes kindly donated by Kelvin John’s Retravision held up well and kept everyone dry.
Around 6am, groggy faces appeared from their cardboard cocoons, laden in layers of warm clothing and looking forward to a hot breakfast of bacon and eggs.
The idea of a sleep out was first created by Leongatha Secondary College senior leaders, who partook in the Red Shield Appeal door knock, but wanted to experience being ‘homeless’ themselves to actually get an idea of how tough it can be.
Seven students took part in the event, and all agreed they now have greater appreciation for the comforts they normally take for granted after experiencing the bitter South Gippsland night with only the shelter of a box and a sleeping bag.
Both the students and Mr Scrimshaw said they hope the sleep out will become an annual event in Leongatha and a way of raising money for Gippscare’s services to help people who find themselves homeless.
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