Fraternity raises awareness
Criminal justice senior Clyde Martin was wearing his long johns Friday night as he camped out in front of the Union to raise money for the homeless.
Martin was one of eight members of Phi Beta Sigma’s Delta Kappa chapter at its annual Sleep Out for the Homeless event from 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday at dawn outside of the Union. The group raised about $200 for the City Rescue Mission of Lansing, which provides food, shelter and clothing to homeless or low-income residents in the Lansing area.
“It’s a 12-hour period for us, (but a) lifetime for them, so it’s really good to show people what it’s actually like (to be homeless),” Martin said.
Martin said the group chose to donate to the mission because it directly benefits the local area.
The event was part of a nationwide program the fraternity puts on in November to promote community service, he said.
“We specifically like the folk in Lansing because this is our hometown,” Martin said. “We want to make sure everyone here gets as much as possible.”
Mike Hayes, night director and counselor at the mission, said the facility has seen a slight increase in visitors with the cold weather approaching.
In 2009, the mission gave out 90,000 free meals to the needy, but when official statistics come in this year, it probably will see that number top 100,000, Hayes said.
Many of the people who come by the mission are mentally disabled, he added.
“We tell them this is the safest place in town, the cleanest place in town and the food tastes pretty good, too,” Hayes said.
The mission has 44 beds available for transient visitors and is working to expand a women and children’s facility that will house up to 140 people, Hayes said.
Women often don’t have a safe place to go during the daytime in Lansing, he said.
“More and more, I get phone calls over the course of the day with women asking for shelter for whatever reason,” Hayes said. “They don’t say why, but their voices don’t sound very happy.”
Dequindre Bell, a 2010 MSU alumna who was at the event, said college students often don’t get a chance to participate in community service while they’re at school.
She’s come to the event in years past because her boyfriend is a member of Phi Beta Sigma and she enjoys supporting the community, she said.
Martin said the amount of money raised this year was less than in previous years, but the fraternity received more clothing donations than usual.