On March 3, the Viking Self Storage facility in Bedford, England hosted the YMCA Sleep Easy Challenge.
The Challenge, in an effort to raise both awareness and money for the homeless cause, allowed people to live like the homeless population for a night—but in a safe, controlled environment.
Participants could choose from two options—the “classic” or “extreme” experience. Those who chose classic were provided with a cardboard box to sleep in for the night, and food and drinks. These participants could also bring bedding from home. Those who chose the extreme experience had to hunt for something to make a shelter from, weren’t provided food or drink, and were rousted from sleep and told to move on by “security” throughout the night.
The Challenge also had an under-10s category called Sleep Easy Sofa Surfing. This allowed the young ones to participate from the safety of their homes by sleeping on the couch instead of in their comfy beds.
“We had eleven under-10s taking part. One little girl even gave up her teddy bear because it wasn’t enough to give up her bed,” said Paul Kellett, YMCA Bedfordshire’s marketing and fundraising officer, to the Bedfordshire News.
Approximately 40 people took part in the event this year. Of those, 16—or nearly double the number from last year—took on the extreme challenge.
Each participant paid an entry fee of £10 ($12.40), and were also encouraged to get pledges from family and friends. Viking Self Storage announced on their Facebook page on March 10 that £11,000 (approximately $13,631) had been raised through the Sleep Easy Challenge.
All money raised will help fund YMCA programs designed to aid the homeless population in Bedford.