High school club raises money for homeless

Members spend the night out to get a feel for what it's like

Posted: Monday, November 22, 2004

Members of the Interact Club at Juneau-Douglas High School lived rough Friday night to raise money for the Glory Hole, the downtown homeless shelter and dining hall.

By 7 p.m., about 15 students were taping together their cardboard homes at the covered basketball court at Harborview Elementary. Others were expected to arrive later. Temperatures were in the low 40s and it was raining. Students planned to stay out until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Two girls approached Interact Club adviser Dixie Weiss and asked if she had any Saran Wrap.

"Saran Wrap? No, I stocked up on duct tape," she said.

The JDHS Interact Club - which is a program for Rotary members ages 14 to 18 and is sponsored by the three local Rotary clubs - raised $2,300 for the Glory Hole in a similar sleepout last year.

It's just one of the charitable activities the 56-member club engages in. Members also donate boxes of Christmas gifts to Russian children, collect stamps that are sold to collectors to raise money for a school in India, sing at the Pioneers' Home and raise funds for students at a Rotary boarding school in Mexico.

The funds raised from the sleepout will go toward Thanksgiving food boxes that the Glory Hole gives families to take home and cook. The Glory Hole gave out 160 such boxes for Thanksgiving and 300 for Christmas last year, Weiss said.

Tindu Daniel, a junior who moved here from India nine months ago, said she's sleeping out not only because it's fun but to help people.

Club vice president Carly Craig, a junior, also participated in last year's sleepout, which was the club's first.

"I think this was one of the funnest things we did last year - sleeping in a box," she said. "We were actually a part of something. We held signs (beside Egan Highway) and people honked at us. It was very encouraging."

Students gathered donations and pledges from Rotary members, their families and neighbors. Club president Janelle Quimpo, a junior, said she and Craig went door-to-door in her neighborhood to solicit donations.

"And we told them if they don't want to sleep in a box with us, they should give us money," Craig said.

The parents of students sleeping out signed a consent form. Students dressed with layers of clothes and brought sleeping bags. Quimpo wore five layers, two hats and two pairs of gloves.

Students realized that their experience doesn't really match the grind of being homeless day after day.

"A lot of homeless people don't have warm clothes. I have layers on," said Kristin Jones, a freshman.

"And they don't have a home to go to at 6 in the morning. They have to prepare for another night," said Paige Pahlke, a freshman.

She and Jones solicited $200 in donations.

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