Annual homeless sleep out event for Northeast Ohio students expected to be the coldest one yet

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - Temperatures are expected to plummet this weekend, with lows in the single digits by Saturday night.

Wind chills will be even worse.

That means a struggle for the Cleveland area homeless, some of whom sleep in makeshift shelters seeking protection from the winter weather.

Students from several different school districts, like 16-year-old Madison Keith, will take part in the Homeless Awareness Sleep Out at Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in Lakewood Saturday night.

Madison has taken part in the event before with dozens of other students from 5th grade through high school, but says this will be the coldest one yet.

"So hopefully we'll stay warm. You just layer up," Madison said.

Students will brave the cold by using only cardboard boxes to make a shelter from the brutal weather.

Madison said it's all worth it for the lessons learned about life.

"It takes a lot of energy that you wouldn't think it would. You don't really think about people that are homeless, because you have a home. You have food, and people driving past just see in real life what it is," Madison said.
 
The event raises awareness and money for the area’s homeless which students will be collecting at the corner of Detroit Road and West Clifton Boulevard.
 
“Just donate as much as you can," Madison said.
 
But, with temperatures expected to be around ten degrees Saturday night, will the school children, as young as ten, still sleep outside in cardboard boxes?

Organizers say yes, but there are precautions and a back up plan — a plan they admit not all homeless have access to.
 
"We have a big fire out here. We have chaperones. Our boxes are triple insulated. If it gets too cold, if any one gets too uncomfortable we'll just move inside the church and we'll take shifts out here," said event organizer Michelle Killin-Keith.
 
Lakewood Congregational Church across the street on Detroit Avenue will also be doing a sleep out.

The events start at 7 p.m. Saturday and goes until 6 Sunday morning.

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