Sleep outs in aid of homeless

A County Tyrone woman is preparing to sleep out at the former courthouse in Cookstown on Saturday, August 8, to raise awareness of homelessness.

Sharon Cassidy from Kildress is hoping to raise enough money to purchase 500 sleeping bags.

She will be joined by about 30 other people in the sleep out from 6pm until 12.30pm the following day, and intends to repeat the exercise on August 15.

Sharon, who has five sons, started collecting for the homeless last year, and now supports four charity groups - “two in the north and two in the south” - who provide assistance to those with no roof over their head. She also set up a GoFundMe page fundraising page and donates regularly to the Help The Homeless.

She became interested in the problem through following pages on Facebook which were “crying out for food, clothes and sleeping bags”.

With a family to look after, she was unable to “jump in the car” and go to Dublin or Belfast, so she decided instead to collect items and bring them to where they could be distributed to those in need.

Her first collection she describes as “fantastic” and it received great support. “I have since done two more and with the help of local businesses who give me storage and somewhere to sort it all out I have been able to grow it more and more,” she explained.

“This will be my fourth collection and I’m hoping that I will be able to fill a 20ft container again which is kindly donated by VK Removals and Storage Cookstown.

“I’m hoping with the money I raise through the GoFundMe page I will be able to purchase sleeping bags. This is a big necessity to the homeless, it’s a little bit of comfort to them instead of sleeping with cardboard boxes over them , can you even imagine that?”


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