Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sleeping Rough

Last week a number of Canadian celebrities in Toronto including Brian Burke and Arlene Dickinson  took part in a sleep-out on behalf of the shelter for street people called Covenant House. Each of these individuals was issued a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag, then bunked down on the street for the night. Now, they were monitored and they were near Covenant House, and in the morning they headed home, bleary-eyed and ready for a shower. http://www.covenanthouse.ca/Public/Home.aspx

None of the participants claimed to know what it is like to be homeless or "sleeping rough" to use the British term. But it was a way to give visibility to the invisible, those we tend to avoid when walking downtown in Toronto and whose story we don't really want to know.

I have mentioned before a New York ad exec who started a campaign asking "how can you worship a homeless man on Sunday and walk past them the rest of the week." It is a probing, worthwhile question.

The celebrities raised $500,000 for Covenant House, which is good, and I admire them. Even one night would be uncomfortable and a little scary.

Are these stunts worthwhile, do you think? Do they raise awareness? Are we missing the bigger issues of how people get to the place of "sleeping rough?" What do think of the involvement of the United Church in inner city shelters? Look at the Observer article Cold Comfort. http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2012/11/cold_comfort/

Take a look at Groundling

1 comment:

Laura said...

Volunteered briefly with the Inn from the Cold Program with our Calgary church. As small of a part as I played, I remember it like yesterday(12 years ago)..mostly I recall the conversations with these folks, who had families and interests, and disappointments and dreams. Of course the church should be involved.."whatever you did for the least of these..you did for me"

Neat to see that some of those rich "Dragons" do have a compassionate heart...Arlene, and other celebs can get our attention..so "more power to'em" when they use it well.