Viking Self Storage in Bedford, England, partnered with YMCA Bedfordshire to host a local “Sleep Easy” fundraiser on Feb. 26 to benefit YMCA programs and services. This year’s event highlighted issues related to homelessness, inviting participants to camp overnight at the self-storage facility in a cardboard shelter to simulate what it’s like to live on the streets, according to the Viking website.
The annual event, which featured three levels of experiences, was held in the facility’s vehicle-storage area. Participants in the “Classic” or “Extreme” groups had to be 15 years old or older and in relatively good health, according to a press release. A less intense program called “Sofa Surfer” was available for those under 15.
Those who signed up for the Classic experience were provided with cardboard from which they could erect a shelter or create a sleeping mat. Food and drinks were provided within this particular Sleep Easy zone, the release stated. The Extreme experience was a bit more life-like. Participants had to fend for their own shelter and work for food and drinks. In addition, “security” personnel could disturb or require these participants to move from their spots during the night.
For the youngest participants, Sofa Surfer simulated the experience of not having a home and needing to sleep at the house of a friend or family member, according to the release.
Viking provided its own boxes for participants. Prizes were awarded for the best box house, according to the release.
“Viking Self Storage is pleased to be working alongside YMCA Bedfordshire for its annual Sleep Easy event,” Charlie Schneider, area sales manager, said in a released statement prior to the event. “It’s a worthy cause. Not only are we happy about being part of the event, [we’re] looking forward to hosting it outside our facility in Bedford. Even Viktor [the company’s mascot] will be taking part and sleeping rough for the night. He’ll be hoping his Nordic clothing will keep him warm.”
Proceeds from the Viking event will go directly to the YMCA Bedfordshire, the release stated. Since 2010, the collective YMCA event has raised nearly £1 million across the United Kingdom.
The Viking facility serves business, residential and student customers. It offers a full array of moving and packing supplies and features flex-office space.