In the most frigid months of the year, a local non-profit wants you to think about those who are out in the cold... particularly young people. Volunteers with Hope4Youth are braving the cold temps this week to raise money for homeless youth.
Becky Kirch is one of those volunteers. She sat inside a tiny, unheated shack along Highway 10 on Wednesday as part of Out in the Cold 4 Youth, a fundraiser for Hope4Youth. She’s content sitting in the cold, if in some small way it might help one of the thousands of homeless youth in Minnesota.
“I'm really not suffering at all but I hope it just brings awareness to what's out there,” she said.
Becky began volunteering at Hope4Youth three years ago. The non-profit helps homeless teens and young adults get on a path to stable housing. From Tuesday to Sunday, volunteers signed up for one hour shifts at three locations in Anoka and Andover for the second annual Out in the Cold 4 youth event.
“At this time of year when we are all getting together with family, here's these kids who have nowhere to go,” said Becky. “Not just in the cold, but without the family support system.”
The director of community engagement and giving at Hope4Youth, Cheri Sutch, said an estimated 6,000 youth are homeless in Minnesota. It's likely even more go unaccounted for.
“They're struggling,” she said. “These are youth that have been through a lot of trauma, they've been kicked out of their homes, they're in toxic situations and they just need some support.”
Hope4Youth offers housing, food, clothes and personal care items, and emotional support and guidance.
“We're gonna take them from A to Z,” said Cheri. “We're going to walk through the entire process with them, until we see them housed in stable, long term housing, no matter how long that takes.”
Last year Hope4Youth helped more than 400 new teens and young adults make 4,000 visits at their drop-in center. With such great need, they set an aggressive goal. Hope4Youth wants to raise $100,000 during the Out in the Cold campaign. To learn more or donate, click here.
Jennifer Anderson reporting