By Danielle Kennedy, Staff Writer
The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at GSU-Armstrong hosted its eighth annual 48-Hours Homeless event the weekend of Mar. 23 to the 25. Zach Harper, one of the founders of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE), started this event.
This tradition sheds light on a real issue that plagues Savannah: homelessness. These gentlemen were outside for over 48 hours enduring the elements. Temperatures that Friday evening got down to 46 degrees. The fraternity members were in a makeshift tent composed of pallets and a tarp to help shield them from the weather. While we were all snug in our beds, these men were grasping a more comprehensive understanding of the suffering our local homeless community goes through daily.
PIKE member Chandler Stansell talked about what inspires them to do the event every year, “We have always been aware of the homeless populations around Savannah and downtown. It’s always been kind of a big deal. Everyone sees it when we go out and walk around downtown. We’re just raising awareness for something that the city kind of ignores and we want to shine some light on it.”
Knowing that Savannah has a large homeless population is the first step in making a change in our community. They need our help now, which is why this event has been a lifesaver to the many homeless people in our community.
“It’s a pretty big impact. We’ve donated a couple tons of clothing last year. We’ve had at least four to five boxes, like full cardboard boxes of food items and water,” Matthews Seay said.
Stansell went on to say that entire truck beds of donations were received. Many items of clothing for babies, adults, and the elderly were donated.
On the Sunday of that weekend, the donations were taken back to the chapter room of the fraternity. They were counted and sorted by size before being taken to the Old Savannah City Mission, where they disperse the materials out to the homeless in need.
Noah Arguello commented that this event helps you understand the elements homeless people are in. “You don’t even realize how being out here in the elements makes you tired, makes you feel fatigued and not want to do anything.”
Seay realized that if any of their fraternity members got tired, they could always leave and go back to their dorm rooms or houses while homeless people don’t have those luxuries.
The past three years Seay has been doing this, he has been rained on, frozen, and sweat to death. The wind itself is a formidable force. Stansell stated that the winds downtown are worse with the taller buildings and the wind streams between each alleyway. Though all of the fraternity members did agree that the Student Union supports a strong wind breeze through the campus area at night.
Arguello stated that the biggest takeaway they have from the event is, “Realizing how much work it takes and taking a moment to live in their shoes. It gives a whole new aspect of how people are living.”