Last night 232 business and community leaders spent a chilly Melbourne night camping out on the steps of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) for the 2015 Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
MCEC was proud to host the annual St Vincent de Paul Society event for first time with their Director of Technology Operations Michael Walsh sleeping out to raise awareness and funds for homelessness.
“This is the fourth year a member of MCEC’s executive team have braved the cold for the Sleepout and the entire organisation gets behind us each year to raise money for the Society.
“The Sleepout gives you a small glimpse into life on the streets and we were particularly proud to offer up our venue, with our chefs donating 130 litres of soup and porridge this morning, all for such a worthy cause.
“It was overwhelming to experience what many Australians face every night, especially families, women and younger people, so to gather together and bring attention to the issue was so important,” Walsh said.
On any given night, one in 200 Australians are homeless, totalling more than 105,000 people nationwide. Just under half of Australia’s homeless are female and almost a third are children.
St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria CEO, Cam Battaglia said last night’s event at MCEC not only attracted a record number of CEOs but also achieved a record fundraising amount of over $930,000 in Victoria.
“We’re grateful to the CEOs who slept rough last night, who raised awareness and funds for the vital homelessness services St Vincent de Paul society provides to the estimated 22,773 Victorians who experience homelessness each night.
“The funds from the Sleepout will go to towards helping to fund our soup van services, accommodation, education and training services and will improve access to medical, legal and financial advice for those most in need,” Mr Battaglia added.
The St Vincent de Paul Society provides immediate and emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness and pathways to a brighter future.
This is the fifth Victorian Vinnies CEO Sleepout which takes place simultaneously in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Wollongong and Newcastle.
MCEC is committed to supporting and growing its community impact through supporting events and charities such as the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Royal Children’s Good Friday Appeal, Variety Australia, Starlight Children’s Foundation and is an active supporter of Hanover and SecondBite.