Loaves and Fishes’ first annual Homeless for Night event on June 23 and 24 will raise money and teach people what it’s like to be without a place to call home in Red Deer.
So far 12 people have signed up, with space for 60 so registration is still open.
Each participant must raise $250, or close to it, to take part, said Loaves and Fishes executive director Halina Jarvis on Monday.
They will all meet at Rotary Park at noon on June 23 before spending the day on the streets — rain or shine.
“We’re asking everybody to leave their money and ID at home, except for a toonie,” Jarvis said.
“We’ll give them a bottle of water and a map and then they are homeless for the rest of the day. They are on their own.”
A few Loaves and Fishes staff will also be on the street to help out.
They also need to bring and carry around a sleeping bag, pillow and mat to sleep on later.
“That’s exactly what homeless folks do. They carry all this stuff around all day.”
They must all make their way to Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen by 5 p.m. for a barbecue before they’re admitted to the dining room where they will sleep on their mat on the floor.
Five participants who raise $1,000 are eligible to win an opportunity to sleep in a bed outfitted by Holiday Inn with a cushy duvet and pillows set up at Loaves and Fishes for the night.
They will be served breakfast in the morning when participants will be asked to speak about their experiences on the street.
“I’m thinking there will be a lot of stories,” said Jarvis who hopes the event opens people’s eyes and raises awareness.
Money raised through Homeless for Night goes towards the operation of Loaves and Fishes.
Loaves and Fishes, which runs a school lunch program, also serves a hot meal three times a week. Meals attract as many as 200 homeless and people in need.
“Sometimes we’re expecting low numbers and all of a sudden 200 walk in. There’s not a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it besides when (government) cheques come out.”
For more information or to register call Nadine or Jarvis at Loaves and Fishes at 403-347-1869.