Cold pavement for a bed. No showers for a week. A winter storm that closed the University’s campus. For 19 Brock students, the five nights they spent outside in March gave them a sample of what homeless life is like while raising money for a good cause.
The students were hoping to raise $7,500 for Housing Help of Community Care, St. Catharines and Thorold. They raised almost double their goal. Thanks to the generosity of students, staff, faculty and the Niagara community, 5 Days for the Homeless raised $13,005 in cash and food donations.
With their sleeping bags set up outside Taro Hall, the students attracted the attention of passersby who stopped to donate money, food and sometimes to talk about their own experiences with homelessness. And local newspapers and radio stations spread the word about 5 Days for the Homeless, checking in on the sleepers frequently to see how they were doing.
Community Care CEO Betty-Lou Souter was thrilled when the amount was announced at the Business Students’ Association Recognition Night on March 28 and thanked the sleepers, the supporters and the organizers for their efforts in bringing attention to the issue of homelessness in Niagara.
“We were overwhelmed with the total, given the goal was surpassed by such an extraordinary amount,” said Souter. “I can assure you it will make a difference in the lives of those who struggle each and every day to find a warm bed in which to sleep. The monies used will give us the ability to ensure no one has to endure the elements that the brave group of 19 experienced including Dean Cyr. Hopefully it will spur political dialogue and keep the issue in the forefront.”
Don Cyr, dean of the Goodman School of Business, joined the students in sleeping outside for one night. He challenged the University community to join him outside for a night or support the cause with a $200 donation. In total, Brock faculty and staff raised $1500 through online donations alone.
5 Days participant Stacey Smith, a BBA (Co-op) student from the Goodman School of Business, hopes that students and the Brock community remember Community Care year-round.
“5 Days for the Homeless was about trying to reflect the homeless experience and to put the needs of the homeless of Niagara right in the face of students. Although 5 Days for the Homeless is over I hope they still keep donating and supporting Community Care year-round.”