Printers are stepping up for the St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) CEO Sleepout across Australia, with Rodney Frost, Lamson Paragon; Mark Wren, International Plastic Card Corporation, Ken Williams, Excel Australasia and Roy Rodgers from Flagstaff Group being among those sleeping rough.
The Sleepout is a one-night event where business owners and leaders spend the night on the street to raise money for homelessness services Vinnies provides, while giving a taste of what people who experience it endure. The event takes place for most cities tomorrow night, with the exception of Geelong, where it will be held on June 28.
Homelessness currently affects around 116,000 Australians.
Rodney Frost, CEO, Lamson Paragon is participating in the Sydney Sleepout for the tenth time while Mark Wren, CEO of International Plastic Card Corporation is attending for the fifth year running.
Ken Williams, CEO for Excel Australasia says, “It is my first time doing it, I came into it late. I was on my way back from Sydney, waiting in the lounge area and saw something on it. I registered for it that night.
“We had an original target of $5000, but we broke through and set a second goal of $8000. I am expecting that we will supersede it tomorrow. So far we have helped out 18 individuals and provide around 49 beds and 199 meals, but every bit helps.
“It is about bringing awareness to homelessness, violence against women and children. It is a real problem, children living in poor conditions; it blows my mind.
“We will be provided with a sleeping bag, cardboard and a beanie. We will also get some soup and listen to some speakers. I think it is great, it is about having the experience and showing solidarity, showing that people care. Vinnies have done a good job in organising it.
“It is in Melbourne and it will be cold. At best it will be two degrees, it probably will be lower. But who cares, it is one solitary night when others will be doing it for longer.
“I appreciate how the Vinnies sleepout has brought focus on these areas. As a society, if we focus on areas we can do something, no matter how small. The CEO sleepout is a great initiative.
“As an individual and as a company, we believe in giving back. It is in the company culture and what we do. We work hard and have had great success over the last 20 years. What is important to us is having passion and being super driven in whatever we do.
“As an organisation, I am proud that this is the way the team does think. What is important to an organisation is innovation and success, what is equally important is our social responsibility. It is part of being a 21st century business.
“I am privileged now. As a child, we had nothing. I used to collect lemonade bottles for money to bring home, because you could do that in Victoria at the time. I have been lucky enough to choose the right path, but some people get caught in a trap or in unfortunate circumstances.
“People can become homeless in a heartbeat and we have to say no we do not accept it. The CEO sleepout is a small part we can play. It is not hard to make a difference if you choose it.
“I want to encourage our industry to take part. We do go through hard times, but it makes us more resilient. Let’s give back and have something to be proud of. Print has an exciting future. Let’s step up and make a difference.”
Last year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised $5.6m for people experiencing homelessness, providing 1.9 million individual support programmes, 689,000 beds for a night, and 1.5 million meals.
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