PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On one night a year for the past three years, Horsham-based home builders Toll Brothers Group President Chris Gaffney sleeps outside for a cause close to his heart.
“You nod off to sleep for five minutes, and a horn beeps, and the siren goes off of a fire engine, you jump,” said Gaffney. “You say to yourself, ‘you can’t imagine how some kid could endure that.'”READ MORE: First Responders, Family, Friends Attend Viewing For Fallen Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson In South Philadelphia
Gaffney has recruited members of his Toll Brothers team to join him, and he says all look forward to the annual fundraiser. They were among some five dozen local leaders, executives, and others who took part in the Covenant House Pennsylvania Sleep Out: Executive Edition.
The fundraiser helps the 50-bed, Germantown shelter feed, clothe, and aide 500 kids each year; though money and space constraints often cause them to turn 400 at-risk youth each year as well.READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Woman Dies During Crash In Philadelphia's Mayfair Section
Covenant House Pennsylvania counts about 4,000 city high school students having experienced some degree of homelessness.
“It’s a week before Thanksgiving. It’s a time when we all reflect on what we’re thankful for,” said Covenant Executive Director John Ducoff, he also told Eyewitness News he still remembers how surprised kids were when the first heard executives like 76’ers CEO Scott O’Neil.
“The first thing they say is, ‘what, really? That’s crazy. I’m not doing that.’ But, the power of young people saying I’m going to go upstairs to my safe, warm bed, and there’re going to be 65 business leaders sleeping outside on a wet, cold night to help me,” said Ducoff. “That sends a message to our kids that they are not alone.”MORE NEWS: GUIDE: Where To Watch Fourth Of July Fireworks In Philadelphia Region
For ways to help the Covenant House, visit their website: covhou.convio.net/site/