Dozens of students came to the Bell Tower on Friday to raise funds and awareness for homeless youths in Philadelphia.
The first ever Temple Sleep Out event raised $10, 453. The funds will support the Covenant House of Pennsylvania, which houses more than six hundred young people, around 16-21 years old, every year. The money will go toward the shelter in Germantown, to provide housing, food and other services.
Interim Executive Director of Covenant House of Pennsylvania, Hugh Organ says, awareness is important to the organization, as many people don’t realize the various reasons that lead young people to not having a place to call home.
“You have kids from good backgrounds and kids from troubled backgrounds. And we always say, it’s not the kids’ fault the kids end up with us, it’s often just circumstances these kids are exposed to,” Organ said.
One of the speakers at the event was sophomore Camellia Brown, who has experienced housing insecurity herself. She says it can be hard for fellow Temple students to realize just how many people are going through this and could be sitting right next to you in the classroom.
“Since this is something that has been happening with a lot of Temple students, you don’t really know who it is because there’s so many students walking. But there could probably be you know a hundred people and maybe 40 or 30 of them are experiencing this.”
Event organizer Kevin Zabel says he was inspired to create the event after looking on the Covenant House website, and knew he wanted to help.
“[Homelessness] pretty much makes all of your problems ten times harder, on top of everything that you’re dealing with and it just really has made me thankful for what I have and made me happy that I can use people that I know and my resources to help those who are less fortunate,” Zabel said.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing food or housing insecurity, you can reach out to the Covenant House of Pennsylvania and the Cherry Pantry for assistance.