A living hell
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
IT all seemed like such a good idea at 6pm Friday. But after 12 hours with the sidewalk for a pillow, the Gladstone Men's Shelter sleep out had taken its toll.
Chilly conditions and less than five-star accommodation made for a rather torrid experience for 30 of us, as we braved the elements to see first hand what it means to be homeless.
But despite the wind and periodic rain, no one complained, as the reason for this unique adventure was ensconced firmly in our minds.
There were children as young as 12, husbands and wives, all of them there for one reason ? to try to make a difference. Callum, 12, and Liam, 14, Prior are only young, but they came with their father Scott and understood full well what the cause was all about.
"I'm here to help raise money for the homeless and build a men's shelter,'' said Callum showing wisdom beyond his years. "The poor people (local homeless) I feel sorry for them.'' Trips to the city night spots throughout the evening to collect further donations indicated the challenge we had been set was worthy. "For sure mate it's something Gladstone really needs (men's shelter), God knows I could have done with one from time to time,'' one guy said dropping a $20 note into the bucket.
Others came down to the Country Plaza courtyard where our camp out was being held to offer support.
Some had just come from a big night out, others were going for an early morning walk and decided to stop by, but all came with a reassuring word and their hand in their pocket.
Local member Liz Cunningham even brought a hot stew around midnight to help warm our tired bodies.
The first six hours flew by and suddenly the task at hand seemed like it was going to be all too easy.
Then the clock almost seemed to stop as we sat and waited for the final six hours to tick by.
Games of cricket, using shoes as a bat, charades, or just a chat all helped keep our minds busy as boredom set in.
Four hours left and half of the dedicated participants had managed to find a dry and warm place to rest for a short while.