Grab a swag, some warm clothes and dive into your pockets to support Soul Cafe during an event later this month.
The community organisation is hosting its annual Sleepout for Soul next Friday 21 May in a bid to raise funds for its vital services.
Since 2003, the charity has been supporting residents by serving hot meals free of charge to the highly-disadvantaged in the region.
“In the past 12 months we served 50,884 meals,” general manager Matthew Ortiger said.
“But, we are more than a meal, delivering a wide range of help and support to everyone who needs it including medical, mental health and dental services and Centrelink, laundry, barber and pantry services.
“We estimate over the year we might see something in the order of 2,500 different faces and most of them come regularly.”
The 2021 Sleepout for Soul will see the return of an in-person event after the 2020 edition was forced to go virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be hosted at the Bolton Street carpark, Matthew says the venue will provide sweeping views of the city and give participants a small glimpse of what it would be like to live without shelter.
He adds people can still take part virtually if they need.
“At the moment we have [more than] 190 people registered, we’re excited that we might have 300 plus people registered by the time the event rolls around,” he said.
“Our highest ever attendance previously was 278 people, so I think we are on target to break a record.
“Our goal this year is to raise $175,000.
“That will pay for about six months of Soul’s daily function.”
Matthew invites everyone to get behind the cause.
“People should support Soul Cafe because it is a community response to a deep community need caring for the vulnerable homeless, evicted and mentally unwell people,” he said.
“We get no government funding, we’re a community organisation solely funded by the people and businesses of Newcastle.”
Matthew adds if you can’t attend the event there are other ways to help the organisation.
“The best way you can support Sleepout if you can’t participate is to donate to the appeal to help us raise that money,” he said.
“Another great way to support us is to get involved with volunteering as we are a volunteer-driven organisation.”
Go to the Soul Cafe website for more information about its work or the Sleepout for Soul.