Recently I spent my lunch break enjoying the serenity of the Adelaide parklands during the hustle of the Christmas period, where I met a gentleman who is currently homeless. We began chatting and Gary* (not his real name) told me that he had experienced homelessness for the past 7 months due to an unsafe living situation. He explained that he’s been in and out of the St Vincent de Paul shelter in Whitmore Square since moving out of home and although it might not be the safest option, it is an improvement on his previous arrangement and as a 63-year-old man, he’s just happy to have a dry place with a roof over his head.
This made me reflect on how truly thankful I am for everything I have in my life and although the festive period is filled with cheer, it was a timely reminder that there are some who are not experiencing the same festivities. I asked Gary what he had planned for Christmas to which he told me that he’d love to visit his 86-year-old mother and brother back home in Millicent. He explained that he was planning to catch the bus home to Millicent but at that point, did not have the resources to purchase the bus fare. It dawned on me that although he is grateful for the donations of spare change, food and beverages, not many people take the time to sit and chat with him. Once we finished chatting, I purchased his bus fare to Millicent and wished him a safe and Merry Christmas.
During this busy holiday season, spare a thought (and some change) for those less fortunate; Gary’s story reminded me that people experiencing homelessness are just as deserving of my time as any CEO or candidate. This year I participated in the St Vinnies CEO Sleepout which opened my eyes to the struggles of people experiencing homelessness and I love being involved in the event each year and having the opportunity to play my part in making a difference.
If you’d like to donate to my St Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2018 campaign, please click here and search for ANDREW SULLIVAN.