The Solidarity Sleep Out was Saturday night into Sunday night this past weekend. There were around 80 total participants, between fathers and students, who showed up to hear from Covenant House and then to sleep out. The night started off with Mass, led by Fr. Demetrius, and then went into a panel discussion with a Covenant House worker, Kirsten Corley, and a former homeless youth and current Covenant House resident, Nicholas. Nicholas discussed the transition from having a home to becoming homeless, finding Covenant House, and life at Covenant. Nicholas talked about buying a car with the help of Covenant House, as well as being in the process of buying a house.
The boys and their dads were able to ask questions and learn a lot from Nicholas's presentation, as well as the activities that were done to highlight the problem of homelessness. Then it came time to sleep, which presented some of the many problems that the homeless face each night. Step one, was find a place with an overhang, since it rained for the first half hour of the night. Next was to find a "comfortable" place to sleep under the overhang, or at least as comfortable as cobblestone and concrete can be. Students rushed to claim spots under the FAC, Old Main entrance and portico. Some found spots under trees or the senior garden. Most stayed dry, not many stayed comfortable and warm. Throughout the night many of the boys laid awake, sore, cold, and/or hungry, realizing how hard one night of homelessness is. All of them knew that they would not want to have to do this again.
After being "woken" up at 6am there was a brief morning reflection where the participants thought about what their day would be like if they were actually homeless, what would they do with their sleeping bag, where would they wash up, would I be able to focus at work/school, where was I going to get something to eat, and the myriad of other questions that come to mind after spending a sleepless night on the concrete. Hopefully, all participants walked away Sunday morning with a lesson in empathy and gratitude.
The Sleep Out has raised $72,840 of its $100,000 goal. This has made Delbarton the top fundraising school in the country for Covenant House, and it has also put Delbarton over the $500,000 mark for total donations to Covenant House over the 7 Sleep Outs that we have done. Congratulations are in order for the top 3 fundraisers. In 3rd place was Andrew Covello '25, 2nd place was Aidan Hassan '22, and in first place, earning a spot in the Solidarity Sleep Out Hall of Fame for raising over $5,000, Ethan Yang '27.
There is still time to donate. If you would like to help Delbarton reach its $100,000 goal and donate to Covenant House to help end homelessness in New Jersey please click here.