#WATWB June – Shelter and Food

Over a year ago bloggers Belinda Witzenhausen and Damyanti Biswas contacted some of their blogging friends about the negativity that invades lives via our screens. They formed a We Are The World Blogfest Group #WATWB. This group posts positive stories on the final Friday of each month.   We are people from all inhabited continents of the world. While coming from many cultural backgrounds and belief systems, we are all united in believing that the power of a good story can change lives for the better. You too, can join.

This month our co-hosts are:

Damyanti Biswas,

Shilpa Garg,

Mary J Melange,

Dan Antion,

and myself.  Please visit their posts and others with #WATWB.


This month I have two examples to bring to the fest.


The CEO Sleepout


Photo: Vinnies Sleepout website.

The St. Vinnies CEO Sleepout is becoming an annual fixture. While raising awareness and funds for homeless people it also does something else. It gives people in positions of leadership in government, business, Church groups, advocacy groups and more, a glimmer of  an understanding of what it is like to sleep on the streets. From their website

What is the Vinnies CEO Sleepout?

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a one-night event over one of the longest and coldest nights of the year. Hundreds of CEOs, business owners as well as community and government leaders sleep outdoors to support the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness. Each CEO Sleepout participant commits to raising thousands of dollars to help Vinnies provide essential services to the people who need them.

Last year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised 5.6 million dollars for people experiencing homelessness.


directly assists people experiencing homelessness, by:

  • funding new initiatives
  • ensuring existing homeless services, like food vans and emergency support, continue
  • expanding the reach of our existing programs to ensure every Australian can access accommodation, meals, and emergency assistance when they need it.


There is some footage on youtube such as this video.  You can also check out the stories by people like

As first time CEO Sleepout attendee Helen Yost braved the cool winds under the Story Bridge in Brisbane for the annual event in June 2017, she was reminded of her past and her own experiences of homelessness.

Now for an excerpt from Juliet Kono’s haunting poem:


My son lives on the streets.
We don’t see each other much.
Like a mother who puts white lilies
on the headstone of a dead child,
I put money into his bank account,
clothes into E-Z Access storage
and pretend he’s far away—
at a boarding school, or in a foreign country.
Nights, I dream fairy tales about him…..

Read more here at Poetry Foundation



Food Sharing ‘Grow Free’


PHOTO: The Grow Free cart in Joondalup has been running for 12 months and is well used by the local community.(ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne) Courtesy of ABC news

The Grow Free movement is sprouting.  Emma Wynne, from ABC News, began her report with:

Outside the Joondalup Family Centre in Perth’s northern suburbs, a small wooden cart is laden with lemons, capsicum, celery, black olives, red chillies, curry leaves and parsley seeds.

A sign above the cart (a former change table) reads: “Grow Free — take what you need, give what you can”.

It was set up by local music teacher and mother Kathryn MacNeil a year ago, and is one of numerous Grow Free carts around Western Australia based on a movement founded in Adelaide.

“The idea is to create a place where people can bring their excess local produce, their homegrown produce — it could be food, it could be seeds, it could be seedlings,” Ms MacNeil said.

You can read more here.

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More about WATWB by reading this link from Damyanti Biswas.






Author: simonfalk28

Country lad, Focussing on verse.

29 thoughts on “#WATWB June – Shelter and Food”

  1. I love the concept behind both these initiatives. Both can actually be replicated so easily across the world, don’t you think?

    Comes down to taking the first step.

  2. Such inspiring and hope-filled stories Simon. There’s so much we can do for people in need, and to see collective community efforts restores my faith. Kono’s poem is heart-breaking, and I think perhaps should be required reading for everyone.

    Thanks for this share, and for co-hosting this month.

  3. None of us truly knows what it’s like to be homeless, to live in a shelter, to not know if there’s another meal around the corner or have enough warm clothes for the winter months. The St. Vinnie’s initiative gives CEO’s a taste of what it’s like to be without a roof to call your own for a night, which leads to greater understanding and empathy. Both this initiative and the Grow Free cart are wonderful examples of helping those in need or just having the opportunity to pick up a free squash for supper. Thanks for the stories, Simon!

    1. Thank you, Biker Chick! You’re right about homelessness. We don’t really know. This sleep-out is a great initiative. Would some veges fit in a bike basket for people to take to food-sharing?

  4. Hi Simon – well you’ve highlighted two great initiatives to help others, but also to understand what is going on in the world … I particularly like the idea of the food cart – especially at this time of year when the produce is starting to proliferate – and we can share. Cheers Hilary

  5. Homelessness is a worldwide problem, only that the the ones in less developed nations get more publicised. This is a wonderful initiative worthy of emulation around the world. When people like CEOs get down to doing such stuff, it does a make a difference.
    – Pradeep | WATWB participant | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

  6. What a great initiative, I am impressed with the first initiative, it is not easy to be sleeping out, and the food cart sounds interesting, thank you for sharing:)

  7. My thoughts exactly on these two initiatives. I especially liked the idea of contributing excess produce. So many times I’ve noticed fruits and vegetables just rooting away in my neighbours’ backwards because they don’t want to give it away. This idea is something I could use in my own locality. Thanks for sharing Simon 😊

  8. Thanks Simon for these fabulous stories of communities in concert with those less fortunate. We have a similar initiative in SA where the biggies in business spend a night on the streets in the winter. And the food sharing initiative is great too – I think we’re waking up to the value of sharing and less waste. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I didn’t partake this month … have just arrived home from being away for 3 weeks.

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