CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Sleepout for the homeless


Young people from two Cumberland County churches have spent a weekend in Nov. sleeping out in the cold for almost three decades.They do it to raise awareness for homelessness, but the pandemic is changing how they do it this year. In a COVID-free world, the First Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg would be hosting its 30th Youth Sleepout for the Homeless they way they have in years past, sleeping outside in these make-shift cardboard homes.One of the event organizers, Lynn Rapp from First Methodist Church, says, “We didn’t want to have that close contact with people. so we did things differently. We set up a GoFundMe account.”Instead they designed activities with the challenges that homeless face.Rapp tells us, “They made their own shelter and they’re not allowed to have snacks. They can only have what we give them.”Although some things have changed the lessons remain the same, for instance, every case of homelessness has its own story to tell.Kyala Mitchell a student at Mechanicsburg High School, told us about the homeless story she experienced, “So my person that I got had a mice infestation problem and they tried to get it fixed but the landlord wouldn’t do anything. And so they tried to go to the government but they wouldn’t do anything so they ended up getting evicted for it.”In a pandemic not having a consistent place to lay your head each night is a risk affecting thousands of homeless today.The Department of Housing and Urban Development says 575,000 people meet the criteria to be homeless nationwide.At the beginning of the pandemic a study was conducted by the Pennsylvania State University, Boston University and the University of Central Los Angeles, it found the coronavirus is likely to kill at least 3,400 people experiencing homelessness across the country.Mitchell says “So many people are not taking it seriously, I bet they are feeling very frustrated with that because they are a lot more at risk.Again, in a COVID-free world the experience would have ended tomorrow morning, instead it ended with dinner at an outside food kitchen and a movie to make everyone feel like kids again.

Young people from two Cumberland County churches have spent a weekend in Nov. sleeping out in the cold for almost three decades.

They do it to raise awareness for homelessness, but the pandemic is changing how they do it this year.

In a COVID-free world, the First Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg would be hosting its 30th Youth Sleepout for the Homeless they way they have in years past, sleeping outside in these make-shift cardboard homes.

One of the event organizers, Lynn Rapp from First Methodist Church, says, “We didn’t want to have that close contact with people. so we did things differently. We set up a GoFundMe account.”

Instead they designed activities with the challenges that homeless face.

Rapp tells us, “They made their own shelter and they’re not allowed to have snacks. They can only have what we give them.”

Although some things have changed the lessons remain the same, for instance, every case of homelessness has its own story to tell.

Kyala Mitchell a student at Mechanicsburg High School, told us about the homeless story she experienced, “So my person that I got had a mice infestation problem and they tried to get it fixed but the landlord wouldn’t do anything. And so they tried to go to the government but they wouldn’t do anything so they ended up getting evicted for it.”

In a pandemic not having a consistent place to lay your head each night is a risk affecting thousands of homeless today.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development says 575,000 people meet the criteria to be homeless nationwide.

At the beginning of the pandemic a study was conducted by the Pennsylvania State University, Boston University and the University of Central Los Angeles, it found the coronavirus is likely to kill at least 3,400 people experiencing homelessness across the country.

Mitchell says “So many people are not taking it seriously, I bet they are feeling very frustrated with that because they are a lot more at risk.

Again, in a COVID-free world the experience would have ended tomorrow morning, instead it ended with dinner at an outside food kitchen and a movie to make everyone feel like kids again.



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