Silver Key Honorary members sleep outside to raise funds for Manhattan homeless

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Students lounged on sleeping bags, blankets and pillows while socializing, catching up on homework and enjoying a little live entertainment last night in Bosco Student Plaza.

The students were there for Silver Key’s Sleep Out for the Homeless event to raise funds for their cause.

Silver Key, K-State’s sophomore honorary program, holds the event each year to raise money for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter as well as raise awareness of the city’s homeless population.

Abby Guenther, Silver Key president, said the group raised funds for the shelter to expand and move from its 831 Leavenworth address to a new building at 4th and Yuma downtown.

“Since Sept. 1, (the shelter) has already had to turn away 50 people,” Guenther said. “Homelessness is becoming a bigger problem here than people realize.”

Silver Key Vice President Ann Virgo said students began raising money for the event last semester, continued through the summer and concluded this morning. Virgo, sophomore in nonprofit marketing, said the members asked for donations while visiting residential areas, friends, faculty members, the greek community and businesses throughout the city including Wal-Mart, Target and all stores in the Aggieville Business Association.

“There’s hundreds of homeless in the Manhattan area,” Virgo said. “We’re fundraising not just for the homeless but specifically for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter. Those funds are going to help buy personal hygiene products, food, clothing and also to expand the shelter.”

Silver Key members stayed around the plaza all night while they studied, ate free Pita Pit, listened to a few speakers and were entertained by the K-State Multicultural Dance Society. Speakers included the director of the Manhattan Emergency Shelter and students from Blue Key – the senior honorary. Throughout the night, Silver Key continued to raise money by collecting donations from passersby who were drawn to the commotion.

“It’s just kind of cool to watch people come out, look around and just kind of take it in that we’re out here supporting the homeless and this cause on a really great night,” said Guenther.

Marcela Gonzalez, sophomore in human nutrition and pre-dental, said she had a lot of fun hanging out and getting to spread the word about the homeless population because, she said, she had no idea how big of a problem it was until she joined Silver Key.

Virgo said she was really pleased with the night’s turnout and hopes the event will continue to grow.

“We’re so blessed here at K-State to be attending college, to be involved in the university and to have money to be in an honorary,” she said. “I really feel we really need to give back to the community to the people who are less fortunate than us.”

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