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How would you have survived these last few weeks of winter weather if you had no home to go to?

It is a question that was very much on the minds of Catholic high school students who attended the 7th Annual Homeless Sleep Out at Saint Raphael Academy last Thursday evening.  The annual event brings together students from across the state who are concerned about the issue of homelessness in Rhode Island.  The Sleep Out marked the end of a fundraising drive by the students, who raised hundreds of dollars through pledges and donations for the Keep the Heat On Campaign.

The large amount of snow remaining on the ground prevented the students from sleeping outside, as they have done in past years.  Instead, students “registered for shelter” as they checked in for the night at Alumni Hall. While there, nearly 200 students and chaperones from Bishop Hendricken, LaSalle Academy, The Prout School, St. Mary Academy – Bay View, and Saint Raphael Academy heard a presentation on hunger and homelessness by Adrienne Marchetti, Executive Director of the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen.

They attended Mass concelebrated by the chaplains of the participating high schools, watched a film called “America’s Invisible Children,” and assembled 150 personal care packets that were donated to Saint Paul’s Emergency Shelter and the Breadline, which gives out food and personal care items to people in need on Friday evenings in Providence.  The next morning, the participants attended a short prayer service at 6:30 am.

Students also signed petitions advocating for the restoration of funds for the Housing Resources Commission and in support of “Zero 2016,” a campaign to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2016.



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