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‘Homelessness can happen to anyone’

Baker High School students (from left) Kirby Socker, Elizabeth Wisely, Sarah Dugan, Grace Santoro, Sarah Karl, Christine Linnenbach, Emily Soeder, Melissa Voyer and Gretchen Grage get cozy in their cardboard box. The girls spent the night in their makeshift shelter to help raise awareness about the Central New York homeless population and to raise money for the Rescue Mission.

Baker High School students (from left) Kirby Socker, Elizabeth Wisely, Sarah Dugan, Grace Santoro, Sarah Karl, Christine Linnenbach, Emily Soeder, Melissa Voyer and Gretchen Grage get cozy in their cardboard box. The girls spent the night in their makeshift shelter to help raise awareness about the Central New York homeless population and to raise money for the Rescue Mission.

— 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.

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