A local advocacy group for homeless youth is inviting volunteers to spend an hour in the cold to raise money and awareness of homelessness.

Hope 4 Youth is hosting its second annual Out in the Cold 4 Youth event Tuesday, Dec. 4, through Saturday, Dec. 8. Volunteers can sign up to spend an hour at one of three locations.

“This is an opportunity to bring awareness to the issue of youth homelessness and to have people who are not homeless feel how cold it really gets out there,” President Lisa Jacobson said.

A small structure, similar to a fish house, which was used last year will be set up at Eagle Brook Church in Anoka (1100 US 10).

Two large tents that can fit 10 people at a time will be set up at Andover Fire Station Number 1 (13875 Crosstown Blvd. NW) and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office (13301 Hanson Blvd. NW).

“It’s a great opportunity for small groups from churches or civic groups – groups that want to do something together,” Jacobson said.

During their time in the cold, volunteers are encouraged to use social media and cellphones to raise money for the nonprofit. They will be provided scripts, post suggestions and other material to help with outreach.

New this year is the option to get out in the cold at home or at work as well.

Instead of signing up for a slot at one of the three predetermined locations, an individual or business can set up a tent at their home or business.

Hope 4 Youth can provide signs and other materials to aid volunteers who decide to spend their lunch break in the cold.

Last year’s event raised approximately $50,000 with 88 participants spending an hour in the cold.

This year the group hopes to raise around $100,000 and has 360 spots available, Jacobson said.

Overall Hope 4 Youth aims to raise $260,000 across all of its fundraisers by the end of the year.

The Anoka-based nonprofit focuses on helping homeless youth under 24-years-old in the north metro.

It provides services ranging from basic necessities, like food, clothes and a hot shower, to longterm services like housing or employment to help youth escape homelessness, according to its website.

In 2017 Hope 4 Youth served 466 different youth and made 137 housing referrals and 599 referrals for employment.

Hope 4 Youth will take volunteers until all the slots are full. To sign up or donate go to hope4youthmn.org and look for Out in the Cold 4 Youth under the events tab.

“It is a more interactive way for people to learn about youth homelessness, and at the same time that they are raising awareness, they are also raising dollars to help us run our program,” Jacobson said.

connor.cummiskey@ecm-inc.com

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