Lake City Students Brave Cold To Help Raise Homelessness Awareness

“I think it just really makes it real for us.”

It’s an event dubbed “A Night Without a Home.”

Friday night, Lake City students shed the comforts of their homes to get a sense of what it can be like to be homeless.

It’s an idea picked up nationwide to spread awareness to homelessness.

In Lake City, students decided to build their own cardboard shelters to brave the elements.

“To be a part of this week and to give back to our community and to give back to other communities over in Cadillac, it’s huge,” says Joe Liestenfeltz, para-professional at Lake City Elementary School and advisor of the Lake City High School Youth Advisory Committee (YAC).

Students with tents, cardboard homes, and a message all stood against the wind and rain in the circle drive next to Lake City High School.

“Normally, we always collect winter clothes for the elementary kids and, this year, we are stocked and ready to go for a good four school years’ worth to hand out, so we wanted to do something different,” Liestenfeltz says.

“It’s super cool,” says Chloe Trofatter, a senior student. “Of course, you are going to be cold but I’m really excited. I had absolutely no idea that there is any sort of homeless community in our town until this started.”

Students like Chloe and Evan Eising, a fellow senior, alongside the Lake City High School YAC all hunkered down for six hours in the dark, going without heat to bring in donations to help the homeless.

“After this night is over, we’ll get to go home and warm up afterwards and some kids don’t get that chance,” Trofatter says.

“There’s at least 50 kids in our area that are homeless, technically considered homeless, and I didn’t know anything about that,” Eising says. “I had no idea.”

It’s an issue in Missaukee County these kids aren’t often exposed to.

“I think it benefits these guys and makes them feel good knowing that real people will be taken care of,” Liestenfeltz says.

“There’s people who are willing to help them,” Eising says. “We didn’t know that there was a problem but now that we do, we can raise more awareness for it and we can get this problem solved.”

Donations ranging from hygiene products to canned goods, even money, are all going to be donated next week to homeless shelters in the Cadillac area, as well as to students here in this school system that need it.