When the sun is shining and friends stop by with a Tim Hortons coffee every few hours, five days on the street is not too bad.
Camped outside the University Centre at Carleton University for the week, Jessica Karam, Eric Berrigan and Mike Fleming know life is much harder for people who are actually homeless.
That’s why they are trying to help.
“It’s never been a question that I am going to eat at night. I know I’m going home to my bed.
People should realize that’s a gift, and not everyone has it,” said Karam, 21.
As of last Sunday, the trio of Sprott School of Business students has spent their nights and days on the sidewalk in front of the campus bookstore as part of a 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. Participants from across the country must live outside for five days without purchasing any food, using a mobile phone or even taking a shower.
Sunday night started in the rain but since then, the group has basked in unseasonable warmth. Their friends have been stopping by with coffee and campus security comes by to make sure they’re OK.
The experience is very different for youth on the street who have to hide from security guards if they want to sleep at night, said Fleming, 20, who volunteered for the campaign because several of his friends had experienced homelessness while he was growing up.
Berrigan said it was surreal waking up yesterday morning as a herd of students streamed into the University Centre for morning classes.
“Unless people stopped, they were just on a mission to do their own thing, but there’s been a lot of support and people asking what we’re doing,” Berrigan said.