Some years ago I had the pleasure (and pain) of getting to know in a small way, an elderly homeless man who sought regular shelter in the Sydney Domain carpark, a carpark I used daily.
Whilst I would not give him money for the usual reasons many of us choose not to, he accepted my offer of food etc and so started a ritual where he accompanied me most weeks to the local supermarket on Oxford street and gave me his list of items needed to get through the week.
He never asked for ‘treats’, just essentials and healthy food to get him through for when he couldn’t get a bed/meal in a shelter – which was quite often due to the immense shortage of beds and overwhelming number of people needing them.
He was a proud man and didn’t talk much, but with good grace and a touching smile he accepted gifts of warm clothing, shoes, sleeping bag etc over the year and a half I saw him.
Sadly, when I was away on a work trip he was killed, brutally and cruelly and it effected me profoundly. He found himself homeless through a series of life events that he didn’t foresee or have control over. He had no family and no means to take care of himself financially and it was a harsh reminder that it could happen to anyone…
I participated last year and look forward to participating in this initiative again in 2017 to raise awareness of homelessness and its causes in the Hills. Often homelessness comes in the form of ‘couch surfing’ or those looking for crisis accommodation as a result of domestic violence or financial hardship.
The money raised from this event will go to assist the vital work carried out by Hills Community Aid and The Lisa Harnum Foundation.
Please consider participating as part of TEAM PELOTONE or alternatively sponsor me (all tickets/donations are tax deductible) to spend the night roughing it on the streets of Castle Hill.
NB: If you have any donations of blankets or warm clothing you would like to be passed to these wonderful charities, please bring in to Pelotone before the sleepout and I will deliver them!
Thank you very much for your support – in whatever means that may take. Know that you are making a difference by contributing and taking the time to consider those less fortunate.”
– Karen Newham