Last Thursday night I joined the 10th annual CEO Sleepout to raise money for the homless through the St Vincent de Paul Society. There were about 275 CEO's on the coldest rainiest night Sydney has had for a long time, the idea was for us to walk in their shoes for a night or more appropriately, sleep where they sleep, on the street on a piece of cardboard.
It was a very humbling experience and I was able to raise $5,735 to add to the some $5.7m that was raised around Australia that night. In the morning, I was mingling with the other 'survivors' and was chatting to Peter, see photo below. He was just Peter and he slept out with the rest of us. In fact he is Sir Peter Cosgrove, his Excellency, the Governor General of Australia. What an extraordinary man and again I was humbled. You always get back so much more than you give.
THURSDAY NIGHT I WAS HOMELESS.
TODAY I AM HUMBLED.
On Thursday night I took part in the 10th annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout. Alongside 285 CEOs at the Sydney event and some 1,285 across the country, I awoke the following day a different person. The experience gave me a small glimpse into what is daily reality for over 105,000 people and I learnt some important things about the seriousness of issue and the people Vinnies helps.
I learnt that it could easily be me. Or you. Or someone we both know, who is experiencing homelessness. And that an abysmal number of Australia’s kids, some 17,000 have no home and are forced onto the streets because of family violence. We heard from some very brave people last night, such as Gabrielle, a young woman who shared her own story of homelessness and sang a moving song inspired by her experience.
Some of you would be delighted to hear how cold I was. You may laugh at the chorus of snores from around Luna Park keeping me awake and how uncomfortable one sheet of cardboard can be. But I am well aware that just one night was a drop in the ocean compared to living that reality every day.
I got to go home, freshen up, have a hot meal and be with people who care about me. But this is a privilege so many Australians will not enjoy. People just like you and me – mums, dads and even small children who have no home.
The event might be over, but there is still so much to do to write a #newchapter of homelessness in Australia. Last night we raised important awareness and funds, but we have a long way to go to help Vinnies reach their target of $10 million.
Thank you for your donation could you please ask your friends and colleagues to sponsor me at https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/?ceo_name=geoff+grist and help invest in real solutions for people without a home.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.