The chill in the air did not dampen spirits of about 25 students who showed solidarity with people who are homeless by camping out in box shelters Thursday night near Cardinal Stritch University's Auditorium. Participants also held a candlelight vigil and a prayer service to help ease homelessness struggles and made blankets for donation to Repairers of the Breach - Milwaukee's sole daytime shelter.
This is the third year that the sleep out and candlelight vigil has been held at Stritch. Jon Metz, director of Campus Ministry and event co-organizer, said the university's strong relationship with Repairers of the Breach is what motivated the event.
"We wanted to show our support for the shelter and raise awareness of the struggles of homelessness, hunger and healthcare," Metz said.
Sophmore Sam Wickens, originally from London, England, was recruited to play a song at the candlelight vigil after borrowing Metz's guitar.
"This event is fantastic, I wish I would've done it last year," Wickens said.
As the group awaited the start of "The Pursuit of Happiness," a film based on the struggles and perserverance that Milwaukee native Chris Gardner endured while raising a son on the streets of San Francisco, University President Dr. James Loftus made an appearance to personally thank students.
"I admire the courage and strength of these young people," he said. "I'm proud of their efforts to help raise awareness of this important cause."
After the movie, the group circled around the fire, lit candles and said a prayer for those dealing with homelessness. Later, they made felt blankets and wrote positive messages on them to encourage those in need at Repairers of the Breach shelter.