UVA Students To Sleep On Grounds for Homelessness Awareness
This weekend members of the University of Virginia community are raising money and awareness about homelessness. It's part of an annual student-led campaign to start by sleeping outside on grounds.
Sleepout for the Homeless is a two-day fundraising and awareness event to support organizations that provide services for Charlottesville-area homeless.
This is the eighth year of the Sleepout which has raised over $22,000. The event is put on by the Jewish Social Justice Council (JSJC) and is open to the entire UVA community.
"We try to reach out to as many people as possible, even though we're a Jewish organization, we try to reach out to as many people that are affected by homelessness because it's one of those things that you just never know (who it affects)...it's very hidden," said Haley Swarts, the vice-chair of the JSJC.
This year, at least a dozen students will be sleeping in tents at the McIntire Amphitheatre. They will raise money by raffling gifts from area businesses like HotCakes, Basil, and Ragged Mountain Running Shop. Some students will also do their own fundraisers. There is also a suggested donation of $10 for those who participate in the Sleepout. "But of course given the nature of the event if you can't pay that we totally understand and people can come out anyway," Swartz said.
The Sleepout for the Homeless event will also include speakers, discussions, and awareness campaigns highlighting the causes and effects of homelessness, as well as emphasizing the need for students to take action.
"UVA seems like we are all privileged and we all come from wealthy backgrounds and while this may be true for some people, you never know how homelessness can affect some people, or not even just homelessness but just a lack of food or just humble beginnings that some people never want to forget about. So we just try to remind them of the good they can do here," Swartz said.
This year, funds raised by the Sleepout will be donated to The Crossings. The event will start Sunday, September 22, at 5 p.m. It will go until Tuesday, September 24, in the early afternoon. Organizers hope to raise at least $800 this year.
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