Students going homeless for the homeless

The cold weather has come, affecting some citizens of Windsor much more than anyone can imagine.

Members of the UWindsor fraternity Pi Lambda Phi are taking this as chance to promote awareness of the issue of homelessness by camping in a homemade shelter outside the Leddy Library. They are there for three days and two nights, disregarding any condition Mother Nature throws at them, in an effort to mirror the effect of what it is like to be without a home.

Fraternity president Curtis Makish says they have just the bare basics.

“We have cardboard, staples, and plywood to deal with the wind,” he says. “There is absolutely no insulation factor at all.”

The campers are also collecting money, canned goods, and clothing for donation to the United Church Downtown Mission. Now in its 13th year, the event has averaged about $800 cash along with other necessities each year.

Makish has set a target of closer to $1,000 this year, as well as more clothing and food: “It’s greatly appreciated and desperately needed.”

The mission’s director of development and community relations, Ron Dunn, has witnessed an increasing number of people attending the mission.

“There has barely been under 200 people a day, which is definitely a jump from in the previous years,” he says, including people taking advantage of the lunch package, meal packs, and the morning coffee program.

Dunn says the mission sees over 125,000 people per year – and not necessarily whom you would expect.

“The type of person that comes here as changed, we have a lot of families and elderly people that have to choose between their food and hydro,” he says.

He calls the Pi Lambda Phi effort “a fantastic way to bring light to what can sometimes be left forgotten.

“Beyond money, it’s the awareness that it creates, the awareness of the homelessness and poverty in general.”

To lend a helping hand, visit the mission’s Web site at

 article and photo by Ashley Quinton