Facing the cold

AWARENESS: Mecosta County Youth Advisory Council members will spend the night in boxes at the Big Rapids Pocket Park in order to raise money and awareness about homelessness in the community. All proceeds will be donated to Our Brother's Keeper Shelter. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

AWARENESS: Mecosta County Youth Advisory Council members will spend the night in boxes at the Big Rapids Pocket Park in order to raise money and awareness about homelessness in the community. All proceeds will be donated to Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

Teens sleep in boxes to raise awareness about homelessness

BIG RAPIDS — While many people sleep warmly in their comfortable beds inside a protected home, others are forced to sleep outside and alone.

When the students involved with the Mecosta County Youth Advisory Council spent time with Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter, they knew their next project would be a fundraiser for the shelter.

On April 18, MCYAC members will spend the night in cardboard boxes at the Big Rapids Pocket Park to raise awareness about homelessness and collect donations for the shelter.

“The students are going to learn what it is like to not have the comforts of home,” said Stacy Chaput, MCYAC adviser. “When we spoke with Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter, the students got concerned that there were small children and teens without a home. They wanted to find a way to help.”

During the fundraiser, students from Chippewa Hills School District, Morley Stanwood Community Schools, Crossroads Charter Academy and Big Rapids Public Schools will create cardboard tents to sleep in overnight. They will begin the fundraiser at 6 p.m. and will leave at 6 a.m. the next day.

“I think it’s really wonderful what these young people are doing to raise awareness about homelessness in the community,” said Wanda Eldred, office manager for Our Brother’s Keeper. “Homelessness is common in the Big Rapids area.”

According to Eldred, the shelter has helped 160 people between Nov. 1 and April 8.
“People don’t want to accept that homelessness is a problem in the community, but it can’t be hidden,” she said. “The community needs to get involved.”

The MCYAC students are all excited to take part in the fundraiser, despite the cold and possibly rainy weather.

“As a group, we are trying to branch out into the community and help out as many people as we can,” said Tom Carey, MCYAC member from Morley Stanwood Community Schools. “We are excited to raise awareness of homelessness in the community and hope to show people there are others who need help.”

For anyone interested in donating or learning more about the event, call Chaput at (231) 598-0571 or email her at stacychaput@ymail.com.

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Posted by Katlyn Vuillemot

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