Young people from two area churches took to the streets this weekend.
About 30 youngsters from York First Baptist Church and Ponoka Trinity Lutheran Church helped street people and cleaned streets Friday and early Saturday.
Kenton Biffert, youth pastor at First Baptist, said the first-time endeavour called Meet the Street allowed the youth to gain an awareness of the plight of the homeless and a chance to serve the community.
They started Friday evening at Peoples Place and spent the night with Inn From The Cold.
It was a real eye opener for me to learn about the problems faced by homeless people, said 16-year-old Amy Anderson.
The weather was pretty bad for this time of year but I cant imagine what its like for people when they have to face the weather in winter and nowhere to go except places like Inn From the Cold, Peoples Place and Potters Hands.
Inn From the Cold shelters people in area churches while Peoples Place offers shelter and meals.
Potters Hands runs a Saturday morning breakfast that attracts scores of people.
Biffert said the project was intended to show teens what its like to be homeless.
The kids had to surrender their wallets and personal possessions before embarking on the trip.
The weather was perfect for them. They were a pretty cold bunch who had to walk from Peoples Place to Potters Hand (this) Saturday morning, said Biffert, the former president of the Students Union Association at York College.
Some of the guys wanted more shock value out of it like sleeping out at Rotary Park and getting snowed on, Biffert said.
That really wasnt the point. We wanted them to be aware of it but also the services that are provided in York.
One team of youngsters served and entertained at breakfast while another team scoured the surrounding neighbourhood near Gaetz Avenue and 51st Street picking up garbage.
Travis Quewezance, 13, who enjoyed a breakfast at Potters Hand on Saturday morning, said the meals are much appreciated.
This is really good for the people who cant afford a lot. It gives them a place to come and get warm while eating some good food, Travis said.
His uncle Tom said people truly appreciate the good work of those who sponsor the meals.
Everyone who comes is quite respectful. It gives people a chance to get a good meal in them to start the day.
Larry Audette, who has been coming to Potters Hand for a few years, said the staff are wonderful.
Its a very well-rounded meal. Youve got eggs, bacon, bread, fruit, juice and hash browns.
It gives you a chance to rest and not worry too much about things and the people are all pretty good, Audette said.
Biffert said he hopes to run the program again next year.
Well get teams of kids to go out and get sponsors and make it a fundraiser for the Peoples Place.