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Fundraisers raise awareness for the homeless

RACHEL STALKER ‘DOAH STAFF WRITER

On Friday Nov. 14, about 50 people from the Shenandoah and Winchester community spent “A Night Out” on the quad to raise awareness and funds for WATTS, or Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Of those 50 people, about 30 were S.U. students; 10 were faculty and staff from S.U.; and 10 were members of Burnt Factory United Methodist Church.

The event raised an estimated total of about $5,300, according to the student coordinator of the event, sophomore Amy Robertson. Robertson made some remarks to the group before the event started. She said, “Tonight is going to be uncomfortable. It is going to be cold. This is only for one night, and we’re going to go someplace where it is warm when this is over.” She also encouraged them to remember that the guests of WATTS do not have that luxury, and to keep them in their thoughts as the night went on.

It was bitterly cold the night of the fundraiser, as the low 25 degrees. Though the purpose of the fundraiser was to stay outside, the participants were also encouraged that if they got too cold, Howe Hall would be open all night for them to sleep or to get warm. They did not want anyone to get sick.

First year student Katie Moss said that she wanted to participate in this project because her home church, Burnt Factory United Methodist Church, has been a big part of WATTS since its founding, and she has made friends and developed relationships with many of the guests at WATTS as she is from Winchester.

In addition, sophomore music therapy Emily Hocke- born said that she wanted to participate in “A Night Out” because she feels that it is important to give back to her community, as she was a Girl Scout, and received her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts for community service.

In case you are not familiar with WATTS, it “is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides a safe, temporary, overnight, cold-weather shelter for homeless guests at host sites in Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties, Virginia,” according to their website.

For 20 weeks, different congregations around Winchester host a week of meals and provide beds for about 30 people each night of the week. Every Sunday during the WATTS season, the Of- fice of Spiritual Life provides dinner, from Sodexo, for those who come to WATTS.

According to WATTS operations manager Marion Schottelkorb, roughly 50 congregations of different faiths in Winchester serve WATTS during the 20-week season. Schottelkorb also characterized WATTS, as she said that it is “not just a homeless shelter, but it is truly a gift for people.”

If you, your organization or your sports team are interested in serving the community through WATTS this winter, contact the Office of Spiritual Life at spirituallife@ su.edu.

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