CCU students camp out for a cause

A little more than a dozen Coastal Carolina students camped out on campus, but not for recreation. They took part in an event centered around Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.

The students spent Thursday night sleeping outside in cardboard boxes. Organizers say poverty is an issue for our area, so hopefully this event will make the students more aware of the problem.

For Amber Green and her friends, there's a strategy to staying warm as the temperatures continue to drop. "We have a group box house, so we'll all have each other to keep warm, but it's still going to probably get a little bit cold out here," Green said.

While this group of about a dozen students is dealing with one uncomfortable night - officials say more than 900 people in the Myrtle Beach area alone are homeless. For some, this is a way of life.

Joy Hanner, director of Street Reach, says her organization helps those in need daily. "What people don't realize is that homeless people look just like you and me, and they've had things things occur in their lifetime from childhood to adulthood that has an effect on where they're at."

David Palinsky with Project Lighthouse - a group that assists runaways and homeless teens - says he hopes Thursday night's program gives the student better awareness of community issues. "I'm seeing a lot more families, a lot more younger kids coming through."

"Hopefully the people walking across sidewalks seeing what we're doing out here will kind of open their eyes to what's around them, instead of the little bubble they think they live in," adds CCU student Jimmy Turnmeyer.

The event ends at 6 a.m. Friday.