ATLANTIC CITY — More than 80 people slept outside Friday night into Saturday morning and raised $187,000 for the Atlantic City Covenant House.
Dozens of people braved temperatures that dipped into the upper 20’s in sleeping bags inside of cardboard boxes in the courtyard of Covenant House at the corner of Virginia and Atlantic avenues, according to Mike “A.C. Mike” Lopez, a Covenant House volunteer.
The money raised will help keep the doors open at Covenant House, which provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness. The event was organized by Covenant House.
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The sleeping outside took place from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, said Lopez, who participated in this event for the fourth time in the last six years.
Usually, 50 to 60 people participate in the Sleep Out, but so many people were involved this year that about 20 people slept across the street in the Bank of America parking lot, Lopez said. The sleeping bags and cardboard boxes were provided by Covenant House.
Hoodies, sweatpants and in some cases boots were worn by people inside their sleeping bags to stay warm, Lopez said.
“People were layered up. People were able to bring stuff, but we were not able to bring pillows and blankets,” said Lopez, who added the idea is to rough it and get an idea of what is like to sleep on the streets. “It was all to bring awareness to what these young 18- to 21-year-old’s go through.”
Many of the young people at Covenant House are not court-ordered there, Lopez said.
“A lot of these kids have grown up with a parent or relative that had passed away or was abusive, or they had to run away for some reason or another, and they wind up on the street,” Lopez said.