In the bitter cold on Thursday night into Friday morning, people traded their beds for a sleeping bag and a cardboard box.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Around 100 people slept outside in Center City to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support and raise awareness for young homeless people.
"I did it for four, five, six hours. They do it every night," said Gareth Brown from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.
In the bitter cold on Thursday night into Friday morning, people traded their beds for a sleeping bag and cardboard box to sleep outside at Friends Center for the night.
This was to raise funds and awareness for youth homelessness through Covenant House.
"I slept miserably. It's not about sleeping, it's about feeling safe, and having a safe place for shelter and love," said Neelam Patel from Lumberton, New Jersey.
Folks have been fundraising since the summer. Over 200 people registered and over $600,000 was raised to support the services that Covenant House provides for people ages 18 to 24, according to Jen Weikert, the Executive Director of Covenant House Pennsylvania.
"Emergency shelter, supportive services like healthcare, mental healthcare, job training, life skills, and we also have a transitional housing program that's in the Kensington section of Philadelphia," said Weikert.
Weikert adds she's seen a greater need for these services with COVID and inflation. Before the annual 'Sleep Out,' started, some shared personal stories of getting off the streets, which resonated with people.
"Hearing the alumni stories, and they hear Covenant House talk about absolute respect and unconditional love," said Brian Rueger, from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
"It's pretty eye-opening, especially the conversations, the talks we had," said Sanjay Jani from Manahawkin, New Jersey.
Folks said what they experienced in one night doesn't compare to what the young people go through on a daily basis.
"It's cold, it's uncomfortable, but I knew I'm going to go home back to my family to a nice and warm bed, take a warm shower," said Bart Ptasznick, from East Brunswick, New Jersey.
The Covenant House wants to make it clear that the sleep-out is not about pretending to be homeless. They show their solidarity with those that are homeless.