HUNDREDS of people are forgoing the creature comforts to spend a night in the winter cold in a bid to raise awareness, and money, for the homeless.
The Soul Cafe is hosting its Sleepout For Soul fundraiser on Friday. It is the third time the annual event has been held and it's gearing up to be a big one, with 240 people already registered to participate.
The Sleepout, held at Civic West Car Park, aims to shine a light on the hardships faced by homeless people, especially in winter. By inviting people to camp out overnight on the streets of Newcastle, the event allows locals to identify with some of our community's most at-risk members.
A big part of Soul Cafe's service is providing hot meals to homeless people, but they strive to go beyond that, as their motto "more than a meal" demonstrates. Soul Cafe also offers their guests a variety of well-being services including a GP, legal aid, a mental health clinic, addiction support groups and more.
A non-government funded organisation, Soul Cafe relies on fundraisers like the Sleepout For Soul event, to continue to provide for the homeless. The volunteer team will be using every dollar raised during the Sleepout to cater to Soul Cafe's guests.
Last year, the event saw 300 attendees spend the night on the streets, raising over $150,000. This year, they hope to collect even more. Soul Cafe is already halfway to their 2019 goal of $165,000.
The Sleepout For Soul fundraiser begins at 6.30pm. Anyone interested in attending can register online at https://soulcafe.org.au/events/sleepoutforsoul/.
- GEMMA FERGUSON