By Andrew Kramer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Howling winds Thursday night made it difficult to even stand outside.

But dozens in Philadelphia chose to spend the entire night outdoors for the Covenant House “Sleep Out” which raises awareness and money to support homeless youth.

“These business and community leaders take a sleeping bag, a cardboard box and go outside and just get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a homeless teenager in Philadelphia,” explains Covenant House Pennsylvania Executive Director John Ducoff.

He calls this event “powerful” and says it really puts things in perspective for participants.

“It’s uncomfortable, it’s cold, you’re on the ground, it’s painful, you don’t sleep,” Ducoff says. “These folks come outside, give up their warm, safe bed for one night, and they do it for some young people who they never met.”

Covenant House’s Debbie McCabe was among 80 or so people who are braving the cold until 6am Friday.

“Just doing that for one night I think shows our commitment and support and it just makes us a little more aware,” she says.

Amy Kothari was outside the Family Center at 15th and Cherry Streets as well.

“You just have a whole new appreciation for what they’re going through,” she adds. “(The homeless) sleep out every night. I brought my sleeping bag with me, but they don’t even have that.”

Ducoff says many of the children in Covenant House get to look on from their rooms as everyone is outside in the cold for their benefit.

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