Sleeping out for the H.O.P.E. and the homeless

Each week, every member of H.O.P.E Hall volunteers with an organization where they  encounter some form of homelessness – whether it’s tutoring children at a children’s shelter, serving food at the San Antonio Food Bank, participating in a spiritual recovery circle at Travis Park or interacting with adults and families at Haven for Hope.

As relationships grow, we in H.O.P.E. Hall get to hear their stories. Some days we witness their tears and others their triumphs.

The individuals we encounter each week give us so much more than we could ever hope to return. Although every experience is unique, most H.O.P.E Hall members would agree that these interactions broaden our perspectives and afford us a tiny glimpse into the life of the homeless, the key word here being tiny. It’s the most difficult part of it all”” trying to understand a circumstance most of us have never experienced.

We don’t know what it’s like to be in their shoes. But with the H.O.P.E Hall Sleep-Out we hope to raise awareness that these shoes exist””around 4,000 on any given day in San Antonio alone. Numerous sleep-outs have been conducted on college campuses across the U.S to raise awareness for the homeless community in their respective cities.

At 7 p.m. Friday, March 22, H.O.P.E. Hall will step out for our own sleep-out on Murchison Lawn. The night will be filled with discussion, a video and, of course, board games for some fun. We will conclude the evening by spending the night outside to raise awareness for the homeless individuals who have no other choice. We encourage anyone from the Trinity community to join us with their sleeping bags for this unique and eye-opening opportunity. A sack meal will be provided.

Through my service at Travis Park Ministries, I’ve heard some chilling stories of life on the streets, particularly of finding a safe place to sleep. Both homeless men and women at Travis Park openly voice their fears of being mugged or assaulted each night.

I struggle to come to terms with the fact that while I take refuge in my cozy, locked dorm room each night, homeless individuals are slumbering in courtyards and streets”” left vulnerable to the elements and to mental and physical harm. It’s this unsettling reality that motivates the members of H.O.P.E Hall each week to volunteer, and it’s the reason I’ll be rolling out my sleeping bag on Murchison Lawn for a less-than-comfortable but memorable experience.

Danielle Hoard is a sophomore living on H.O.P.E Hall.