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‘No one knows what’s around the corner for any of us’ says Sharon ahead of sleep-out for homeless

Sharon Cassidy, centre front, and volunteers pictured at last year's sleep-out

A Kildress woman is holding her annual sleep-out this weekend and next to raise money to buy items for those living on the streets.

Sharon Cassidy, who set up the Help the Homeless group in November 2018, is appealing for people to give what they can, no matter how small.

She and a number of  volunteers will be bedding down on the streets of Cookstown for  two consecutive Saturdays -June 5 and 12 – from 6pm until 9am.

The aim is to buy much-needed waterproof sleeping bags, tents, socks, gloves and hats which will be distributed among the homeless in the north and south of Ireland.

Said Sharon: Our first sleep-out last year was a great success and I was able to purchase 1,200 high quality  waterproof  sleeping bags that were specially made to suit those who sleep on our streets.

“No one knows what is around the corner for any of us and someday we could find ourselves in the position of needing someone’s help.”

Sharon, a mother of five boys, set up the group after being motivated by the desire to help those less fortunate than herself.

She said: “I had been following a few pages online and they were always asking for donations of food and clothes. So I decided I would gather up some from friends and family.”

What she “gathered up” amounted to 100 bin bags full of clothes which she delivered personally.

Since then the group has mushroomed and she has organised further collections.

In December 2019,  five 20ft containers filled with clothes and food headed off to help those living in poverty.

It’s also very much a family effort, with Sharon’s husband, children and other relatives all doing their bit and, at collection times, there are items piled high in practically every room of the house.

Sharon has thanked all the local individuals and companies who have already donated or provided sponsorship.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so through the GoFundMe link on the Help the Homeless Facebook page or contact Sharon via Facebook Messenger.

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