Spending 24 hours outside in downtown St. John’s may not be the way most people would spend a day and a night during this slow-to-start spring, but many people don’t have a choice in the matter.
That’s why Renee Dumaresque and eight or so MUN medical students will spend the night outside starting Friday afternoon. Dumaresque is the campaign leader of Sleep out 120 — an event where people spend five full days on the streets to raise awareness and money for housing and homelessness in the province. Dumaresque previously has taken part in that five-day event.
“It was rewarding and it was challenging,” she says.
The five-day event will likely take place in October. The 24-hour one this weekend is meant to give people a taste of what it’s like to have to sleep outside and to encourage them to take part in the longer fall campaign.
Dumaresque says they will have shirts and signs that will identify them and they will sing chants. Only the most extreme weather will keep them from going ahead with the 24-hour campaign event, she says.
“We’re typically downtown on Water Street or Duckworth Street because that’s where the most traffic is, too, and then you have people going to and from work,” she says, adding that all the foot traffic makes for a good opportunity to raise funds through donations.