A group of Lakeland High School students spent a cold night outside recently to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by those who are homeless.
Members of the DECA Business Club at LHS spent the night in front of the First Church of God in LaGrange. “We wanted to do something more for a charity,” club member Jamie Elliott said. She recalled how business teacher Robert Albaugh had talked about working with soup kitchens and other service work he had done in the past. “We wanted to do something like that for a day,” she stated.
The idea began at the start of the year as a charity event to raise money and awareness. The club members approached area businesses and raised $1,000, along with funds to get a tent and got boxes from the local hardware stores.
“We wanted to experience, to see what they (homeless) go through,” Elliott said. She said six members, plus Albaugh, stayed the entire night and that they expected it to be cold and rough. “The reality was a lot worse than we thought it was,” she said.
“I didn’t expect it to be as cold as it was,” added club member Nathan Stroup, who braved the cold night as well. “But it got the point across and raised awareness.”
Alex Hart, another club member who spent the night outside, noted that even with insulated clothes and gloves it was really cold. “Trying to stay warm was the toughest part,” he added.
“This was a first step,” Albaugh said of the project. “Now, let’s look to see how much of a problem this is and how we can work on it.”
Elliott noted that the club would like to do something annually like this. “We want to be creative and think of something else, too,” Elliott said.