LACONIA — As has been tradition for a number of years, the Key Club members sponsored their annual homeless awareness night on the lawn at the High School on Friday to raise money for and to get the community involved in helping those who live without permanent shelter.
To get a small taste of homelessness, students gather large cardboard boxes, tents and sleeping bags and spend the night outside. They build a fire and hear from area agencies about the issue.
"I can definitely do this for a night but no longer," said Ryan Cashman, a junior who is participating in his third sleep-out.
Key Club President Dominic Cannuli said he understands that their one-night adventure is nothing like being truly homeless, but likes the idea of calling attention to the fact that many are.
"We have bathrooms, we'll get to eat tonight, we'll have things to drink," he said, noting that many who are homeless will have none of those things.
"It's important because many people turn a blind eye but they should be aware of this," he said.
Both said that anything helps and that if everyone who could gave just a small amount of money to one of the local agencies who help feed and house the homeless, much of the problem could be addressed.
Bill Gile of the local Kiwanis Club — the adult sponsor of the Key Club — said that all of the financial donations made to the students either last night or by people who want to make a donation at the school will be matched by money raised by Kiwanis.
He said that money will be matched by All-Brite Cleaning and Restoration of Gilford and then donated to the Salvation Army and the Carey House.
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