Dozens spend the night ‘without a home’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Dozens of people braved the cold in order to raise awareness about homelessness. It’s just one night for many of the people who participated in the event, but so many other across the area aren’t as lucky.

There were boxes, tents, lawn chairs, and sleeping bags. It was just a small taste of what it feels like to be homeless.

“It keeps you humble because we take for granted sleeping in a house every night,” said Zachary O’Brien, who was participating for the first time.

Although O’Brien will spend the night in a big tent, he said it’s nothing compared to how he’s used to sleeping every night.

“We’re on the ground in some sleeping bags but we’ll make it,” he said.

This is the Rescue Mission’s kick-off event to Homelessness and Hunger awareness week. About 160 people accepted their challenge to spend a night without a home. Although,it is not exactly like being homeless, leaders with the Rescue Mission said it is a reminder that there are 2,500 people across the area who are.

“There are folks that are living under the bridge,” said Richard Cummins, Vice President of Operations at the Rescue Mission. “There are folks that are sleeping in a car. There are folks that are sleeping outside.”

Leaders with the Rescue Mission hope that this event will spark compassion and understanding among the community.

“We are hopeful that once individuals have a better understanding of hunger and homelessness in our community, that they will be inspired to take action by volunteering, donating funds or resources, or getting involved in some other way,” Donovan Coley, CEO of Rescue Mission, said in a press release. “When someone gets involved in, it takes us one step closer to ending hunger and homelessness and bringing real change to those who need it most.”

Next week, the Rescue Mission is hosting events everyday for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week.