It wasn’t your average Friday night in St Marys last week, as more than 60 people set up camp in Station Street’s car park.
Fusion Western Sydney and Platform Youth Services teamed up for the annual Sleep In Your Car event, which raised more than $16,000 to support Australia’s homeless.
Fusion’s Judy Tweeddale thanked the community for its support.
“What was really lovely was there was a great mix of local businesses and families with young kids,” Ms Tweeddale said.
“It’s important to show them the vulnerable side of life in our community.”
Those gathered got a taste of what it’s like for the more than 105,000 people experiencing homelessness in this country – with one in six under the age of 10.
Penrith mayor John Thain was among dignitaries to attend the event, while Rotary Club of St Marys fired up the barbecue to provide winter warmers.
There were games, live music and a shower bus for sleepers, as a young woman shared her story of finding herself living on the street.
“She was only 18 and was facing an arranged marriage,” Ms Tweeddale said.
“It was pretty powerful.”
Ms Tweeddale said donations would be left open throughout Homelessness Week, which runs from August 7 to 13.
“It was a very positive experience,” she said. “We really want to thank the community.”