A week ago tonight, several brave souls suffered through the night living out of a box. It was cool and rainy and not a perfect night to sleep under the stars. It was, of course, a voluntary event but for some, it’s not. It’s everyday life.
The Great Soup Kitchen sleepover is an annual event that gives participants the experience of sleeping in a box as many homeless people do everyday. It brings awareness to the poor and homeless problem in Sault Ste. Marie.
“We really enjoyed the sense of community and bonding experience. \it made us appreciate what we have taken for granted, \we would not change anything you did and we would also gladly do this again. It is a great rewarding experience especially since we are a group studying to be social service workers with Native Specialization” said one of the participants.
The event raised $12,000 for the soup kitchen programs. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, about 30 teams backed out. Late entries made up the difference though, with 20 high school students taking part plus 12 staff from Galaxy Cinemas who also staged a canned food drive, something the team wants to continue for next year.
“Sleeping in the box in the cold is not fun. I am cold and hungry. Living like this would not be acceptable. Many people do not have the luxury of having a warm place to sleep. I am now thankful for what I have and its good to give back to the community.”
“The experience has opened my eyes up very much on what it is like to not have a home or warm food to eat. I have a new respect for the homeless. Right now I am cold and kind of hungry and I can’t imagine doing this day and day out especially in the fall and winter. I do not want anyone to have to go through this and from now on I am going to help people to try and avoid this” said another team member.
“We got rained on, it was cold out. Woke up, sore all over, I was hungry, lonely, lots of different noises, I would do the box differently next year.. Everyone was friendly, I felt welcomed. Its’ really sad for people that have to live like this in this time 2015. I really missed my warm comfy bed, TV, computer, but I felt free. I had to depend on others to set up. ”
Next year, the Soup Kitchen will hold the event during National Anti-Poverty week, October 11-17th.