As the rain clouds moved in to surround Drexel Park and the drizzle started to fall, most VSU students rushed to get out of the downpour. However, over thirty students came out to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness.
Tuesday, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. prepared for its first Sleep Out for the Homeless event with hopes to gather food and clothing donations from the surrounding area to better support the local homeless shelters and organizations such as Lowndes Associated Ministries to People, Inc., or LAMP for short.
During the day, the fraternity began setting up their few tents and lights on the corner of N. Patterson St. and Brookwood Dr. to protect all the clothes and foodstuffs that they had already collected.
The members cozied up on a cardboard box instead of mattresses.
Even as the weather went from bad to worse, they were determined in their goal to experience the true plight of the homeless in this day and age.
Aaron Howard, first Vice President of the Kappa Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, said that the original location for the event was in front of Odum Library, but arrangements for having it on main campus fell through.
The organization created flyers and Facebook groups to promote the event and also had a few local radio stations mention the sleep out.
LAMP’s representative, Matt McMurray, showed up to thank the Sigmas personally for its efforts.
“I think it’s a very important event that college students participate in, not just from an issue standpoint but from a humanitarian standpoint,”
LAMP’s staff of 15 served 11,000 individuals last year. Their goal is to help these individuals reach self-sufficiency through their efforts.
Howard spoke to the group as it packed to leave the next morning.
“Cherish the life you have and the opportunities you are given,” Howard said.
“At any moment, your world can change and you’ll do anything to reach a state of normalcy once more.”