Twice a month, Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria collects food for local food pantries. Six years ago, the director of youth and young adult ministries discovered the church’s teens weren’t participating in service days.
“Serving the needs of all humans is all of our mission — is all of our jobs, right?” said Miguel De Angel.
De Angel created the “Homeless for a Night” camp out as a way to teach the church’s parishes to treat others with dignity.
Saturday night, 45 people slept in cardboard boxes or under a tarp. Past years haven’t been easy — De Angel says the worst was the first year, with plunging temperatures, a wind storm, and even a nearby transformer that blew. One year, the participants woke to slugs in their boxes.
“It was wet and it was miserable,” said Andrew Margiotta, returning for his second year, “but it really gives you a perspective into how lucky we have it…just being indoors, having a bed, having a house to go home to.”