About 35 people participated in the CEO Sleepout at K.R. Barkman park in Steinbach Thursday night in support of Today House, a local homeless shelter. RCMP Staff Sergeant Harold Laninga says the numbers were down a little bit from last year but he adds it was still a very meaningful event, as participants spent 12 hours as homeless people, including sleeping in the park overnight.
"This is our fifth year and the fifth one that I've been involved with. I'm on the board of Today House so that's one of the reasons I get involved. It shows us how some people who are homeless, just how they are living. We spent the night outside and you don't have your creature comforts. It was just an incredible night of education and informing us what this is all about."
Laninga says they heard a powerful speaker from Lighthouse Mission in Winnipeg and also participated in a service project at Steinbach Community Outreach before bedding down in the park.
"I'll be honest with you, it's a great eye-opener for me just to go through this. I stayed very close to the fire tonight. We're very fortunate that (after this) we all get to go home and go to our beds. That's why this is so important. It's also a big fundraiser. So far, we've raised approximately $38,000 which is a huge part of what we need to sustain Today House."