Community effort tackles homelessness

SLEEPOUT: Mary, Bailey and Bella Mckenzie, Rob Singleton, Harrison Haynes, Shyane McInnis, Emily Alchin, Judith Barnett, Jess Turner and Helen Mullion.

SLEEPOUT: Mary, Bailey and Bella Mckenzie, Rob Singleton, Harrison Haynes, Shyane McInnis, Emily Alchin, Judith Barnett, Jess Turner and Helen Mullion.

With temperatures dropping to below five degrees overnight, 17 local residents were feeling it more than most.

Mary McKenzie part-owner of local cafe Mamma Lou’s organised a community sleepout in an effort to raise awareness of those 105,000 Australians who are sleeping rough every night.  

Run to coincide with Homelessness week, the group effort has raised over $1,300 and counting. 

Inspired by the Vinnies CEO Sleep out, Mary said all funds with be donated to the Vinnies in Port Augusta to ensure the money goes towards helping local homeless people.

The mother of two said the response from around the town has been fantastic with donations pouring in from a range of different people.

“There’s a lot of people from all different walks of life getting involved,” she said.

“I just really wanted to raise awareness for homelessness week and to give back — we’ve got a platform to do that here.”

With nothing more than cardboard boxes and yoga mats to sleep on in the disruptive railway station, the volunteers got a small taste of what the many homeless Australians experience every night. 

“I just think of all the people that are doing it rough every night and It makes you appreciate the comforts that we have at home,” Mary said.  

Mary and her volunteer’s are still accepting donations online or in store at Mamma Lou’s.

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