Last night I had the honour of performing my original songs at the Sleep Out Under the Stars event. It was a fundraiser for St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, who help the homeless in Perth by providing food and other services. The goal was to raise $10,000. It was a beautiful evening of likeminded souls gathering together to make a difference. We were entertained all evening with an outdoor concert in the stunning courtyard at Notre Dame University.
My kids enjoyed the activities like table tennis, craft and laser tag.
For dinner we had chicken and pumpkin soup and delicious fresh bread (including gluten free bread!) which was all generously donated. The atmosphere was amazing and everyone was buzzing with excitement.
Photographer Kate Heaslip had her No Fixed Address collection on display. Kate had spent time with homeless people, listening to their stories and photographing them. Kate said that many homeless people she had come across were abused as children. In desperation, they escaped to the streets, because it was safer for them than their abusive homes.
One man she met on the streets was actually gifted and as a child skipped year two and year four, and it made me think of my son Kale who also skipped year two. Because he was abused at home, he left and started living on the streets as a teenager, and is still there now as an adult. It’s so unfair that some kids are brought up in a home where they are safe and others aren’t so fortunate and end up on the street. It’s so tragic and it could happen to anyone. Imagine how different this man’s future could have been if he were brought up in a safe and nurturing environment.
This recent Daily Telegraph article reports that ‘rising divorce rates, skyrocketing rents and the gender pay gap have combined to create a new homeless epidemic in which women in their 50s and 60s are the victims.’ These are everyday women who were stay at home mums, and then worked, but due to life circumstances find themselves homeless! You can read the article HERE.
We’ve all heard the Golden rule is to treat others as you would like to be treated. Homelessness could happen to anyone, and if it happened to me and my kids I hope someone would help us! I believe that we should always focus on what we can do, and then actually do it. If we all do our part we can make a big difference. Here are some practical ways to help the homeless in Perth:
Although we live in an amazing country, there are still thousands of homeless people in Australia that need help and support, including kids!!
Attend Sleep Out Under the Stars next year, or a similar event this winter! Just by attending you are helping with your ticket entry going towards helping homeless people.
At my kids’ school, there is a program run where you can donate groceries from a shopping list, which gets made in to soup for homeless people in Perth. So once a month my kids contribute by giving four butternut pumpkins to their school.
Homelessness in Perth We Care also help the homeless in Perth. Follow their Facebook page where they will put the call out for items people need. A recent call out was for baby items, for a family with a very young mum and dad with a 10 month old baby who were sadly living on the street. You can drop your items off at various drop off points including Byford, Kewdale, Alfred Cove, Claremont and Wanneroo.
G Justice is an organisation who help the homeless in Midland by giving out swags and meals. Current programs are on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. For more information join the G Centre Facebook group.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, I’m sure there are many other organisations out there doing amazing things! These are just a few that I’ve come across on my journey as a singer. After last night’s event this is what my family had to say:
“How in the world did this even happen? It’s not normal for loads of people to be sleeping out on the streets. There’s plenty of land! How do millions of people in the world become homeless?” Ashleya (11)
“I still felt hungry after eating a cup of soup and bread.” Kale (9)
“Its sad!” Jewel (7)
“Why can’t they just make them a house with a fireplace?” Elijah (4)
After sleeping outside on the cold pavers, my hubby Dan said: “I’m glad I don’t have to do it every night. It must be incredibly difficult for people with kids to not only find somewhere you can sleep but find somewhere for your kids to sleep. I’m glad it wasn’t any colder!”
In the morning we were treated to freshly cooked bacon and egg burgers! After last night we will really appreciate our warm, cosy beds tonight. The event was a real success and over $12,000 was raised for St Patrick’s Community Support Centre! I feel so honoured to have been a part of such an inspirational event, and look forward to next year’s event. Maybe I’ll see you there?