The annual Belvedere SleepOut is responding safely and creatively to the Covid-19 pandemic and has already raised almost €80,000 in the process. So far, the students have already slept out for a night in their gardens, have raised awareness through their SleepOut Selfies, and raised this impressive sum of money.
Due to the recent dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 cases reported by the HSE yesterday, however, a decision has been made not to proceed with the physical aspects of the SleepOut this year. This includes all street collections and the students sleeping overnight in the schoolyard on Dec 22nd and 23rd.
But the Belvedere staff and students want it to be very clear that Sleep Out 2020 has NOT been cancelled. They say that the needs of homeless charities are as great as ever, and they still want to do all they can to support them.
So the boys are moving to plan B, which is a virtual SleepOut. “We have received donations of almost €80,00 to date,” says Padraig Swan, Faith Development Officer in the College, “which is just an incredible amount of money, given through the generosity of so many. And we are not finished yet.”
In plan B, the 100 collectors have now become promoters, and they have been tasked to continue to work over the next three days from the safety of their homes. They will do what they can to get the word out and get the money in.
For the past thirty-seven years, the people of Ireland have supported the Belvedere SleepOut for the Homeless, raising millions of euro. This year, however, everything has changed, due to the pandemic, and the boys are worried that the appeal will not be as visible this year.
Seán Brady, Head of the student PR team and sixth-year student at Belvedere says:
“We usually sleep out under the GPO for the nights of the 22nd and 23rd of December. This year we will be working from home, promoting the cause on social media. There’s a donation link on the Belvedere Sleep-Out page or the Just Giving Page All the funds raised throughout the days of the sleep out go directly to our three charities, Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again, who are fighting against homelessness in Ireland. We are asking people to please support us with an online donation or whatever way they can. All money goes directly to the charities mentioned”.
As Belvedere College is in the centre of town, the boys see that homelessness is an epidemic that is destroying people’s lives. Many do a soup run all throughout the year which continually reminds them that behind each statistic is a person with a name. There are 2,642 homeless young people in Ireland, who not only have to deal with the normal stresses associated with growing up – state exams, school life, social life – but they have to do so without having a place to call home.
“Our school is run on a policy of ‘People for others’. It’s part of the Jesuit ethos and it’s what has inspired the boys in Belvedere to help others the best they can. Last year, with the ever-reliable support of the public, SleepOut19 raised a total of €162,518.03, and despite everything going on, we hope to top that with SleepOut2020.”
The students are inviting anyone who wants to join them in raising funds for these three charities that help the homeless. Click here to start fundraising.
Below find links to the social media pages that the students are using to promote the event.