2.45am – It’s frighteningly freezing, the ground is excruciatingly hard. Being a still night there’s no howl of the wind but contrastingly, the menacing mechanical noises are accentuated. There’s the torturing sound of trains roaring past, the relentless drone of traffic and harrowing rumble of trucks.
We’re undercover, have been fed by the Vinnies soup kitchen and are watched over by security, so fear and hunger don’t come into our equation.
The two guest speakers for the night opened our eyes to the fact that anyone is only an incident away from being struggling or homeless. Two educated women told their stories. This could happen to anyone.
One night for me, sleeping between friends, endless lonely nights for others. Let’s work together to ease this suffering.
Bec Picone, Brandon Dellow and myself, Jacqui Bennett represented the Humans in Geelong team and slept outside at GMHBA Stadium last night, with 60 other community leaders, with nothing more than a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag. It was to raise awareness and much needed funds to help our local homeless and those in need. It’s not too late to donate, donations will be taken up until the end of August. Go to www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/humansingeelong and donate to the Humans in Geelong Team.
Part 2: Two days later and the effects of the sleepout are still apparent. Stiff aching back for one. The day after, I felt jet-lagged or as if I’d worked night shift. I spent the day dazed and unable to concentrate. Then at 6pm I was hit with a huge wave of anxiety – “it’s just because you didn’t get enough sleep, you’ll feel better in the morning.” True but then I thought of the 1,000 homeless, struggling people around our region.
How can we help them? I like how Vinnies collated ideas that we brainstormed on the night. Great ideas have come from this previously. Like a developer opening up his apartment building as emergency housing for a period before renting out apartments. People with vacant blocks of land having demountables placed on them also for emergency housing.
Humans in Geelong will continue to tell stories of positivity and hope to raise awareness. Our aim is to Inspire – Connect – Strengthen our community.
Story: Jacqui Bennett Photo: Vinnies team & Phil Hines Photography