Braving the cold: Student group sleeps outside to raise donations for homeless

By By Aaron Vaughn

By Aaron Vaughn

Members of the U chapter of the American Medical Student Association slept on the sidewalk to raise awareness for the needs of Salt Lake City’s homeless on Thursday, Nov. 17.

The chapter hosted its fourth annual “Cure for the Cold” by sleeping at the top of Presidents’ Circle from Thursday night until Friday morning. Volunteers at the event collected clothing and other donations dropped off by supporters for local homeless outreach centers. Representatives from The Road Home, the Fourth Street Clinic and the Utah Food Bank spoke to a small gathering of volunteers and project supporters on the front steps of the Park Building.

Jim Pugh, director of the Utah Food Bank, thanked the AMSA volunteer group and said that with winter coming, it is a critical time because “people right now are living on the edge of starvation.”

Pamela Atkinson of the Fourth Street Clinic and Matt Minkovitch, director of The Road Home, spoke to the small crowd about homeless needs for health care and shelter.

“You give me hope,” Minkovitch said to the handful of cold campers, finishing his speech with misty eyes.

AMSA President Natalie Macintosh said that clubs such as the Student Health Advisory Committee and the Associated Students of the University of Utah also pitched in equipment and volunteers to organize and run “Cure for the Cold.”

Lis Jacques, a volunteer and graduate student in chemistry, attended last year’s AMSA event as well as this year’s and said the participants used all sorts of techniques to stay warm, such as jumping on pogo sticks.

Although the next morning yielded more than 200 boxes of clothes and more than $1,600 in cash, AMSA Vice President Simon Lee said that donations were less than the previous year.

“If there was a reason (for) why we had less (donations) this year, it would be the lack of advertisement,” Lee said

Lee said another problem was that the radio-station coverage the group had last year backed out of the event this year. AMSA also invited Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, but he could not attend as he did last year.

“We just want to spread awareness (about homelessness) around campus,” Lee said.

The American Medical Student Association hosts a variety of health awareness events involving topics such as U student insurance issues and AIDS awareness.

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