Braving the elements to bring awareness to homelessness

The student-organized group, 5 Days for the Homeless UWaterloo, are trying to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness that plagues approximately 200,000 Canadians every year, according to their Facebook page.

In an attempt to collect donations, and raise awareness regarding the stigma of homelessness, the group camped outside under the overpass between Biology 1 and Earth Sciences and Chemistry buildings March 9 to 15.

For five days and four nights they were exposed to temperatures as low as -25 degrees, while also having to endure a snowstorm that dumped about 10 centimetres of snow last Wednesday.

Lauren Ruiter, a 4B health studies and one of the campaign organizers said, “We relied on the generosity of our UWaterloo community for blankets, warm clothing, and food.”

The group remained strong through extreme weather knowing the direct impact they were having on the community.

Ruiter said, “Before the campaign, we had people from the shelters come to talk to the participants about where the money donated would go and how it would help. This gave students an edge … There were minimal complaints and [they] always stayed strong minded.”

The group raised $1,100 over the five-day campaign, according to Ruiter, falling short of their “ambitious” goal of $2,000. Despite not meeting their goal, the group stills considers the campaign a “huge success” that will make a “huge difference in the lives of those who are using the shelters within KW.”

All the money raised during the campaign will be donated to KW Roof and ARGUS House. KW Roof is a youth shelter in Kitchener, while ARGUS is a women’s shelter in Cambridge.

“These shelters aim to provide homeless people with meals and emergency shelter, as well as provide people with clothing and a safe place to stay,” Ruiter said.

For more information on 5 Days for the Homeless UWaterloo<em>, </em>visit their Facebook page.