Friday night was certainly not the night to be stuck outside in western New York, but that's exactly what a handful of students at Hoover Middle School in the Ken-Ton District were prepared to do.
It’s the 31st Jerry Starr Ken-Ton Sleepout. Students used refrigerator boxes as mattresses and if it’s not too cold, they’ll sleep outside. The idea is to donate money and clothes to those in need in Kenmore and Tonawanda, but also teach children the struggles some in their community face, every day.
“If we can instill in them the idea of helping people in need and they can pass it on to their kids, maybe their grandchildren. It's important at an early age to start that because once they get older, they may not have the sense of doing something to help someone in need. If we instill it at an early age, maybe it will stay with them,” said Stephen Ash, an organizer of the sleepout.
According to the Buffalo City Mission, as many as 5,500 people face homelessness in Western New York each year.