We have just held our second Sleep Out for Poverty on May 22-23, 2015 at Holy Family Parish, London. There were 9 in total who participated on a very cold night- temperatures dropped down to 0 degrees that evening. The youth counted only on their sleeping bags and cardboard shelters to keep them warm.
The evening of May 22, we had two guest speakers – one who shared their experience living on the street and and the other who shared with us witness statements from their experience in serving the community. We sat around a fire to keep warm while listening to them. The youth were interested in their stories and had great questions during the Q/A session.
As we woke up to frost at 7:30 am, we were all looking for a little sunlight to warm ourselves. The Knights of Columbus from Holy Family Parish donated Bagged Breakfasts for our group. Big Thanks to them!
We then debriefed the night’s experience and how everyone stayed warm with the situation we had faced that night. Some were very cold due to a crack in the cardboard shelters they made and some were very cozy because they had small shelters and their body heat kept them warm, all in all a great experience.
Our last speaker arrived at 9:00 am to share with us the services which Mission Services provide within our city for those on the street. We were impressed with all the services they provide from mental health support to beds for those on the street. There was also a one of a kind housing for families in need and settling for immigrants who are new in our city. We also learned that there are volunteer opportunities for the youth within the Mission Service organization.
Our group then went into the church to make Blessing Bags and to participate in a poverty awareness activity. We put together 30 Blessing bags that contained; shampoo, a toothbrush, tooth paste, hand cream, lip balm, a juice box, water, a granola bar, a small treat and a fruit bar.
After the activity, the youth took the city bus downtown and handed out the Blessing bags along with the leftover Bagged Breakfasts to the people on the street as they walked to the SSVP Store. The team then arrived at the SSVP store to help with serving a BBQ hamburger lunch for those in need. The youth served over 500 people that day at the BBQ, it was a great day. The youth’s experience was eye opening and rewarding. We all survived another Sleep out for Poverty and the youth raised $655.00 which will go right back to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul!
Hope to see them all next year, for a bigger and better Sleep Out for Poverty!