When Michelle Boyle and her marketing team at St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore were planning their 2020 fundraising event to raise funds and draw awareness around the issue of ending homelessness, they had it all planned out.
They were calling the event Equinox. It would be held Sept. 19 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry with a waterfront backdrop, with great food and music. As a provider of community services to people suffering from the effects of hunger, homelessness, and poverty, organizers said they knew they could expect at least 500 people to support the event. Then Covid-19 hit.
“We were stunned like everyone else that we were faced with the decision to postpone or cancel our inaugural event,” Boyle said. “However, safety is our top priority and we quickly shifted focus to a new way we could still raise awareness and funds to help end homelessness, but keep everyone safe.”
That new way, Boyle was said, was “The Sleep Out Challenge, an online campaign to raise funds and awareness to end homelessness locally.” Through Sept. 19, participants are asked to “Sleep Out and Share the Light” by posting a photo on social media (@svdpbaltimore, #sleepoutchallenge). The Sleep Out Challenge may include a tent with a flashlight, a sleeping bag with a battery-powered lantern on a deck or porch or sitting around a fire or open a window and “sleep out” in a living room with a single candle or other lighting. Participants are asked to donate $25 and tag four people to participate in the challenge.