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5 Days for the Homeless

Thursday, March 13, 2014

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  • Rebekah Lorantfy (top), Kaitlyn Edwards (bottom left) and Steph Vesely (bottom right)

    Rebekah Lorantfy (top), Kaitlyn Edwards (bottom left) and Steph Vesely (bottom right)

  • Students set up a giant cardboard box to hide from the blizzard on Wednesday morning.

    Students set up a giant cardboard box to hide from the blizzard on Wednesday morning.

  • Students set up a giant cardboard box to hide from the blizzard on Wednesday morning.

    Students set up a giant cardboard box to hide from the blizzard on Wednesday morning.

Written by Alice Lin

Last week, Guelph students took part in the 5 Days for the Homeless national initiative to raise awareness about homelessness, as well as, donations for local charitable organizations supporting homeless and at-risk youth across the country.

The initiative began on Monday, March 10 and will end on Friday March 14. The weather looked to be in their favour at the beginning of the week until Wednesday when weather took a turn for the worse. “[We] did not expect the snow,” said James Welton, an arts student participating in the initiative, “A day like today after two mild nights really puts into perspective the struggle that the homeless incur daily. The constant cold and aggressive blowing snow reminds us of how treacherous long exposure to the elements really can be”.

To really understand and simulate just how difficult the experiences that the homeless have to go through, the participants sleep outdoors for five days straight without any food. The only way that they are able to eat is if people bring something to them. “Everyone has been extremely supportive, and we want to give a big thank you to all the fellow Gryphons, faculty and staff members who have brought us food and kept the donations flowing” said Steph Vesly, a commerce student who is also sleeping outdoors with the other participants. Additionally, the students will not get to shower, change clothes and many of the other privileges that people usually have in the comfort of a home.

Guelph students hope to raise a total of $2,500 by the end of the week and donations have been going well. “This has been such an eye-opening experience,” said Kaitlyn Edwards, who is a commerce student and an executive on the College of Management and Economics Student’s Association, “it’s been frustrating but it’s worth it” she told to the Guelph Mercury.

The 5 Days for the Homeless initiative began at the University of Alberta in 2005. Since then, the campaign has been incredibly successful and is held at 22 different campuses across Canada which have raised a total of $1 million. It is encouraged, that students not only bring hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and donuts to the students but also warm and nutritious food along with donations. Students participating in the event will also be blogging from the library from time to time about their experience. To read more about it, visit: http://5days.ca/guelph.

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