Weekly Feature

2018-01-10 / Front Page

Jerry Starr SleepOut for the homeless set for Feb. 2


Next month, students, family members and other participants will sleep outside in refrigerator boxes — despite the winter weather — to raise money for local organizations that help those in need in the Ken-Ton community.

In the 30 years since the first SleepOut was organized by the late Samuel “Jerry” Starr, approximately $1 million has been raised for organizations, along with countless donations of food, clothing and other items, according to the Ken-Ton School District.

The event continues to make a difference in people’s lives as the 31st annual Jerry Starr Ken-Ton Schools’ SleepOut will take place beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, at Hoover Middle School.

Starr, a longtime teacher at Kenmore West High School, and his colleagues, Steve Ash and Charles Kohler, organized the first event in 1988. They later decided to name the event in honor of Starr.

Now, Ash and his organization, Educators Totally Committed, coordinate the Sleep- Out each year and spread awareness of the action needed to help others.

Participants can send in donations or drop them off on Feb. 2. Those who wish to “sleep out” until 6 a.m. the following morning can do so inside the cafeteria or outside in the parking lot.

Hoover Middle School is located at 249 Thorncliff Road in the Town of Tonawanda. The parking lot is accessible off Sheridan Drive near the pedestrian overpass between Delaware Road and Colvin Boulevard.

All donations will be distributed to local organizations, such as the Ken-Ton Closet and Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda UFSD Family Support Center.

A formal program will begin at 8:30 p.m. inside the cafeteria. Children and students who stay for the night must be accompanied by parents or guardians.

Donations can be dropped off at the SleepOut site between 7:30 and 10 p.m.

According to the district, a grand total of $7,515 was donated in 2017 to the Ken-Ton Closet, Ken-Ton Family Support Center, Community Action Information Center, Little Portion Friary, South Buffalo Community Table, Response to Love Center and Compass House.

E.T.C. will also be hosting the “Bag It” initiative for the second consecutive year. “Bag It” is an acronym for “Beginning A Global Initiative Together” with the slogan “Boys And Girls, Bagging And Giving, Bringing Aid Globally.”

Students are encouraged to bring a bag of items to school, whether it be canned and boxed food, personal care items, clothes or any in-need items.

Students can bring these items to their school or to the SleepOut site on Feb. 2.

Individuals interested in donating by check can make it payable to “Ken-Ton Schools – E.T.C.” and mail it to Ken-Ton Schools’ Sleep- Out, c/o Kenmore West High School, 33 Highland Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14223.

For more information on donating or participating, contact Steve Ash at 694-4492 or allhelpall@yahoo.com.

email: aderosa@beenews.com

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