Nov 15, 2012 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Nine girls recently spent the night in a cardboard box – no phones, no music and, most importantly, no food or drink.
Kirby Socker, Elizabeth Wisely, Sarah Dugan, Grace Santoro, Sarah Karl, Christine Linnenbach, Emily Soeder, Melissa Voyer and Gretchen Grage, all Baker High School students, gave up these comforts to help raise awareness about Central New York’s homeless population. With temperatures hovering near freezing on the evening of Nov. 2, the girls gathered around a fire sharing stories then bundled together for warmth inside their box before dozing off.
Their message: “Homelessness can happen to anyone.”
This isn’t their first night in a makeshift shelter, either. This is the girls’ fourth year participating in a national campaign spearheaded by the Rescue Mission.
“The Rescue Mission works every day to alleviate homelessness and hunger in our community,” said Lisa Santoro, who has helped the girls organize the event every year. “The girls’ efforts help to raise awareness of the dire situation that exists for many people and the money they have raised helps to feed, shelter and clothe people who are hungry and homeless.”
The girls spent two weeks preparing for their fundraiser. They approached neighbors, friends, family and local businesses asking for donations. In previous years, they raised $600, $900 and $2,000, consecutively. This year’s goal was to raise $4,000. As of their overnight, they had $3,550.
“I’m really proud of how they took on a goal of $4,000,” Santoro said. “They had a plan to approach Baldwinsville businesses with letters to get the word out for the Rescue Mission and it worked.”
The girls would like to thank the following businesses for their generosity: The Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267; Brian King Construction; Arrow Fence; Burdick BMW; Bentley-Hall Inc.; Seneca Federal Savings; Dr. Mary Green; Insight Out; Mohegan Manor; Rikreations Family Hair Care; and Timothy F. McMahon, Attorney at Law.
They will continue to accept donations through Nov. 30; donations can be sent directly to the Rescue Mission (please note the donation should go towards the Baker High School students’ efforts). On Dec. 2, the group will present a check during Movie with a Mission on Channel 9.
“This group has always been very community service orientated. It didn’t start out to be about raising money as much as it was about raising awareness,” Santoro said. “The girls wanted to show their peers that there are people who have far less than them, people who aren’t even sure where their next meal will come from.”
This isn’t just a once a year cause for the girls either.
“We always get emails asking for our time for different events all year long. The girls really clear their schedules to make sandwiches, serve a meal or help at the Thrifty Shoppers,” Santoro said. “The Rescue Mission needs financial support to continue the services that restore hope to the broken, affirm dignity to the poor and help those they serve to realize their full potential.”
Last year, there were more than 6,000 people in Onondaga County who were homeless and, according to Santoro, the organization has seen a large increase of people coming for meals with an average of 700 meals served daily.
“The emergency shelter continues to be filled nearly every night,” Santoro added. “Homelessness and hunger exist in our community and can only be addressed with the help of people like the Baldwinsville Baker High Students.”
To watch a video of the girls, visit youtube.com/watch?v=29Q8Tx3D8cE&feature=em-share_video_user.