LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - From Saturday, January 18, at 6 p.m. until Sunday, January 19 at noon, more than 30 youth fellowship members at Lakewood Congregational Church located at 1375 W. Clifton Blvd., as well as youth from St. Peter's across the street at 18001 Detroit Ave., will get a taste of what it's like to be homeless in the winter, while raising money for local homeless support agencies during the 10th Annual Homeless Awareness Sleep Out.
The kids will "panhandle" for donations from passersby and sleep all night in cardboard boxes in front of their respective church buildings in an effort to increase awareness and raise funds to assist with the struggles that the Northeast Ohio's homeless community faces each day.
Participating LCC youth, ranging in age from 11 to 18-years-old, gathered in the church narthex on Saturday around 3 p.m. to start constructing their box shelters - the only source of shelter they will have until late Sunday morning.
Around 6 p.m., LCC youth headed outside to spend the evening canvassing the block, seeking money from passersby and being without the comforts they are used to - heat, solid shelter, food and money.
The group will be awakened in their box shelters by 6 a.m. on Sunday to resume seeking donations and will continue doing so until noon.
Funds raised by the LCC Youth Fellowship will go to Y-Haven, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, an organization that empowers homeless families to become more self-sufficient.
LCC serves as one of Family Promise's west-side host churches.
The LCC youth are collecting cash or check donations (made payable to Lakewood Congregational Church). They also are collecting NEW men's, women's and children's underwear, socks and toiletries for Hands on Northeast Ohio's Homeless Stand Down, which takes place on January 25, in Cleveland.
During the Sleep Out of 2013, the LCC Youth raised nearly $5,500. They hope to beat that total this year.
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