People camped outside right in the middle of Times Square last night, December 7 for “The World’s Big Sleep Out,” an event aimed at raising money to combat homelessness around the globe.
About 1,110 people “Slept Out” throughout Times Square’s four plazas to raise awareness of the issue and money for both national causes like UNICEF USA and local NY charities including Robin Hood, Breaking Ground, The Ali Forney Center, and The Coalition for the Homeless.
In NYC, more people are now homeless than at any time since the Great Depression, a press release stated, and “over 62,000 people in New York, including 22,000 kids, will sleep in shelters tonight.”
There were many speakers and performers at the event, including WILL SMITH who even read the participants a “bedtime story”—AKA singing the theme song to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”! He also spoke about his live-changing experience with Chris Gardner, the formerly homeless father whose journey inspired the film “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
CEO & President Mitchell Modell and Modell’s Sporting Goods donated sleeping bags for all Times Square participants to use Saturday night during 30 degree temperatures, which will now be donated to local charity partners.
The event was started by Scottish entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn, who originally co-founded a sandwich shop that offered jobs and free food to the homeless in its area. They previously held a “Sleep in the Park” in Edinburgh, but this year they went worldwide with a one-time event and over 60,000 people participated!
People slept outside in their own backyards and community locations like football fields and parking lots, and also in famous global spots including our own Times Square.
The event was created to shed light on the issue of homelessness and displaced populations, and also raised money for charities that support the cause in NYC and around the world. Over $10 million was raised worldwide, and 100 percent of the proceeds from NYC will go to charities helping the cause.
You can find more information on their website.
Featured Image: Instagram / @worldsbigsleepout