Brock students to sleep outside for 5 days for homelessness

Brock students will be sleeping outside to raise awareness of homelessness in Niagara.

From Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 16, the group of volunteers will give up their warm beds to actively raise both funds and awareness for homelessness, particularly among at-risk youth.

Students participating in the campaign give up necessities and comforts such as shelter, proper sleeping arrangements, access to food (except what is donated to them), heat and showers.

With the exception of using technology for homework and sharing their experience on social media to promote the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign, students will give up their smartphones and laptops while continuing to attend class throughout the week.

Organized by the Goodman Business Students’ Association, the campaign partners annually with Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold, which received more than $3,000 in donations through the 2017 initiative.

This year’s team has set a fundraising goal of $5,000.

Goodman School of Business Dean Andrew Gaudes said homelessness is an issue that’s not distant from reality for many people.

“We have to realize that homelessness is all around us and affecting people we know and care about in our region,” he said. “St. Catharines has been declared as a compassionate city by its mayor, and we should be able to demonstrate that by recognizing the importance of this issue and by giving in any we can to help change the outcome of people’s lives.”

Students will be set up outside Mackenzie Chown Complex A Block and will be accepting non-perishable food and cash donations from March 12 to 16. Online donations are also being accepted at 5days.ca/brock throughout March.

Donations will also be collected at Niagara IceDogs games at the Meridian Centre on Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m.; at Zehrs (Pen Centre) on Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and at the St. Catharines Farmers’ Market on Thursday, March 15 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In January, St. Catharines homeless man Freddie Boyd passed away after finally getting approved for housing.

His death highlighted that a lot of work still needs to be done to address homelessness in St. Catharines, said Mayor Walter Sendzik.

Hundreds of people attended his celebration of life.