TORONTO — PCL Constructors Canada Inc. vice-president and district manager Bruce Sonnenberg slept on the streets of Toronto Nov. 17, giving up the comforts of home to raise money and awareness for homeless youth.
Business and community leaders in 18 cities across North America did the same in the fifth annual Covenant House Toronto's Executive Sleep Out.
"I once again had an experience of a lifetime, and learned more about how large and extensive the homeless youth issue is here in Toronto," said Sonnenberg in a statement. "I also learned through the testimonials from a number of former homeless youth of the great work Covenant House does to build up the hope and confidence that is needed to re-enter society as stable, contributing citizens."
This was Sonnenberg's third consecutive year participating in the event and he raised over $37,275 for the cause, making him one of the top five fundraisers amongst the 70 business and community leaders who collectively raised over $1 million for homeless youth.
"The Sleep Out was much warmer than last year but still gave us a taste of what people living on the street experience every night," said Sonnenberg. "We each received a sleeping bag and piece of cardboard on which to sleep. My night was generally uneventful with the exception of many sirens and being jolted out of my sleep by a rat brushing against my body, inches from my face.
"I came home to a warm house, a wonderful family, and a soft bed. Street youth face only more cold days and cold nights, with no support."
Over 92 per cent of all funds raised go to Covenant House programs and youth.
Donations are still being accepted. For more information about Covenant House Toronto's Sleep Out: Executive Edition and its participants, or to make a donation, visit executivesleepout.ca.