Emotional, humbling and eye opening, those are three words that describe Car City 2014.
"It's a great project and a great experience and all the money we raised for this fundraiser goes to RAIHN and all the homeless people," Josh Fenster said. "We are just looking to help those people better their lives."
Saturday night in the parking lot people transformed their cars into their home for the night, some modest and others going all out and decorating, all to spread awareness and help people understand this is a life for some homeless families in Rochester. There car is their last asset and their only shelter.
"It's really important especially here in Rochester where a lot of people are looking for homes temporarily or for longer periods of time," Adrienne Zand said. "We really enjoy working with the kids."
RAIHN works with hundreds of homeless families every year. They provide a day center, a nightly shelter run by local congregations and home-cooked dinners, provided by volunteers. Families who enter the program are given ongoing support so that they are able to get back on their feet. That's why fundraisers like Car City are so important.
People bonded over a movie and popcorn in the evening but then it got dark, the moon came up and reality set in.
"Even though it's May it was still cold," RAIHN volunteer Dawn Haas said. "I feel like I have a head cold and a little sick this morning from sleeping outside and I can only imagine what that's like in January or February."
A lot of people woke up with tired eyes and sore bodies but it was only one night.
"A one night thing is one thing but to sustain this for a long time with more than one person in the car, with family, with kids there, it's hectic enough in a house getting kids ready for school and getting ready for work," Jen Canning said. "I don't know how people do it. I feel thankful that I have some place to go where I can shower and get something to eat and a place to put my head at night that is not in a parking lot."
Car City 2014 was a huge success and the money raised will allow RAIHN to help more homeless families in the coming year. Donations will be accepted until June 1st. For more information on RAIHN and how to donate click here.
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