‘Sleep Out’ Raises Nearly $1,000 for Local Shelter
By Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois
DUBOIS – A group of Penn State DuBois students raised nearly $1,000 for an area shelter over the past weekend, by sleeping outside in cardboard boxes on campus.
The “Sleep Out for Hunger” was held the night of Oct. 12, with a dozen students bundling up and enduring the sub-30 degree temperatures until 7 a.m. They’ll donate the money to Haven House, a DuBois shelter open to individuals and families, free of charge, who need temporary shelter.
Students who participated said they wanted to raise awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness in the U.S. and raise money to help combat it. They sought sponsorships from people who would make a donation for each hour they spent in their cardboard city.
“I think it’s important when you’re raising awareness to make a statement. Sleeping out on campus definitely got the attention we were hoping for,” said student Louise Whyte, who helped organize the event in coordination with the campus student life office.
“Not only did we raise a lot of money for the Haven House, but we made more people aware that there was a homeless shelter in DuBois.”
Whyte said that often, through no fault of their own, people are not aware of problems around them that they might lend a hand to if they only knew more.
“Awareness is key. Sometimes people think because we’re not in a big city we don’t need these kinds of services, but we do,” Whyte said. ”We are lucky to have the Haven House and its volunteers. We are just glad we could do something to help give back to them.”
Haven House serves people who have become homeless due to circumstances that were beyond their control. Many of the guests include victims of fire or natural disaster, and people who have lost their homes due to foreclosures caused by job loss. Staff members at Haven House work with guests to help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible, so that they can move on to their own home once again.
Haven House is operated entirely by volunteers, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Since its inception, the shelter has served over 343 homeless people, including 50 children. In all, it adds up to 10,260 nights slept and 20,520 meals served.