OUR Big Kitchen co-founder and CEO Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin said this week that his organisation’s continued participation in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout was “a very natural fit”.
Hundreds of business leaders participated in the sleepout last week, raising funds for the homeless and at risk by spending one of the coldest and longest nights of the year outdoors.
OBK, a long-time sponsor, provided nourishment to participants as they learned about the reality of homelessness.
“The basic idea is that with privilege comes responsibility,” Rabbi Slavin said.
“If you’re a CEO, it’s increasingly important to have the plight of those who are much less fortunate front of mind, and no better way of finding out than [by] experiencing it.
“For us at OBK, it’s a very clear statement that the Jewish community do its part in social issues that are beyond our own community … We are here to help everybody.”
Participants lined up for a meal served by OBK, heard from speakers who shared their experiences of homelessness, and spent the night on cardboard boxes.
Brad Rom, CEO of the Dinner Ladies, a popular food delivery service, said the experience was an “eye-opener”.
“[Homelessness] is a lot more common than people realise, and it just goes to show how well Vinnies do in the community to prevent it from happening,” he said.
“Vinnies do a great job in prevention, in terms of paying electricity bills if people are struggling, or paying gas bills … so it means that people can get by before [homelessness] can eventuate.”
Since Vinnies’ first sleepout in 2006, the annual event has raised over $80 million to assist people experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness.