Students sleep outside to raise awareness about homeless vets - - The News for South Mississippi

Students sleep outside to raise awareness about homeless vets

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Our Lady Academy students decided to take action after learning from the Department of Veterans Affairs in Biloxi that there are at least 300 to 400 homeless veterans in South Mississippi.

More than a dozen young ladies and a few faculty members braved the chilly weather in sleeping bags Saturday night to understand a little bit of what too many of our country's heroes are experiencing every night.

Senior Mary Margaret Gagnet said, "When you step back and look into your life, you realize the things you have that other people don't and we need to make sure we can provide for people who can't provide for themselves."

The students collected pledges from family and friends by telling them about their event and by doing this they not only raised awareness, but they will also be sending two veterans on the next Honor Flight.

Wayne Lennep with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight said, "It makes you glad to know they are students and they get it. And they care enough to go out because that's hard work. A lot of people don't have a lot of money to give these days, and when you can go out and raise money that means you put out the effort to do it."

Seventh grader Sarah Pierce raised $750 all on her own.

"My grandfather and other grandfather are veterans and I know how much it would mean to them, it feels amazing," Pierce said.

It really hit home for these students to hear from a veteran, who found himself homeless after returning home from war and not being able to find a job he was qualified for.

Gagnet said, "The fact that he was able to keep living his life and that is something I strive for, strength like that is impeccable. He really touched me."

These young ladies hope their night outside will also touch others.

Senior Kendell Ritten said, "They need to do something about it, take responsibility for knowing this is happening and get more involved and do more service."

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