Soup kitchen to the rescue
LISMORE Soup Kitchen client Stephen Murphy was keen to get involved in this weekend's Northern Star Giant Homeless Sleepout but couldn't afford the entry fee.
That was until Soup Kitchen volunteers Margaret Lord and Gillian Kane stepped in.
“Steve said he'd love to be a part of it because he really appreciates what the Soup Kitchen has done for him, so Gillian and I agreed to sponsor him,” Ms Lord said.
Like many soup kitchen patrons, Mr Murphy regularly volunteers himself.
“I'm on a very low income but I love to help out whenever I can, you know, serving food, sweeping and cleaning. It's good to feel a part of something.
“I want to go to the sleepout because I think it's important to raise awareness of homeless issues and just how hard it is for some people. I have a room to stay now and I've been there since March which is great, but my last place was very unstable.
“You can be exposed to violence because some people are understandably angry. If a landlord kicks you out it's hard to get help from the law.
“I'm slowly getting back on my feet. “Homelessness is a vicious cycle. When you're on the streets it's hard to look after yourself properly, you can't apply for jobs and you can only carry the bare essentials - if your parents give you something for Christmas for example you can't keep it.
“People are really struggling out there. Some uni students are homeless too - they get even less than us.
“I don't know how some of them survive.
“I've been unemployed since last November and it has been very tough.
“I had to live in my car for some time.
“The other thing people don't realise is when you're homeless you're basically excluded from society and you can't do anything.
“You've got so much time on your hands it can drive you crazy.”
“To have somewhere to call your own with a lock on the door is so important,” he said.
“I'm now doing a computer course at TAFE and I'm working on my resume and hoping to get work again.
“But first I'll have to find the money to get my mobile phone fixed so they can call me.
“I am hoping to get my own place one day so my son can stay with me.
A fantastic line up of musicians has put their hands up to perform.
Dan Rumour from the Cruel Sea will join Michael Turner in Surfer Ray and Steve Hester, former member from the Hoodoo Gurus will play.When and where
• When: 6.30pm tomorrow to 7am Sunday
• Where: Lismore Shopping Square car park.
• The event is drug and alcohol free
• Tickets are $25 for a family of four, $15 for singles or $50 for a corporate registration.
• Entertainment will be provided including Surfer Ray, featuring Dan Rumour from the Cruel Sea, a chess competition and films for kids and adults.
• Everyone who registers for the Sleepout will be in the running for great prizes.