NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some 80 Broadway artists joined the second annual Sleep Out event Sunday night in an effort to raise money to provide food, clothing and shelter for homeless youth in New York City.
The kids at the Covenant House homeless shelter are always looking for somebody to lean on. They got it one summer night last year, along with a lullaby sung by some of Broadway’s best.
Broadway's Finest Sleep On NYC Street To Raise Money For Youth Homeless Shelter
More than 50 Broadway artists broke into a serenade of “Lean On Me” while spending the night on the street outside the Manhattan shelter in solidarity with the 350 homeless youth living inside.
“Of course we had to break into song when you put a bunch of us together. We can’t not sing,” said Rory O’Malley, the Tony Award-nominated former star of “The Book of Mormon.” The windows lit up and the kids inside soon joined them in song.
As 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported, this year’s artists secured pledges totaling more than $200,000 for Covenant House. Last year the group raised $136,000.
“I really felt for these kids, like what it must be like to just be out here on the street with nothing,” one participant said.
“It gets kids thinking, ‘Maybe I’m not broken,”’ said Kevin Ryan, president and CEO of Covenant House International. “It lifts kids up thinking that all these people who don’t even know them think enough about them to spend the night on concrete.”
The event has been spearheaded by two Broadway veterans, Capathia Jenkins, a star of “Newsies,” and Stephanie J. Block, who has appeared in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “9 to 5.”
Participants on Sunday were introduced to the homeless youth and then broken up into groups to share stories and answer questions.
As the night wound down, the Broadway folk were handed a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag as they headed to sleep outside the Covenant House building on 41st Street and Tenth Avenue.
“This is not a replication of homelessness,” Ryan stressed. “It is just a single night of solidarity, lifting up the dignity of homeless kids.”
As for any spontaneous singing, O’Malley said he hoped that could be duplicated this year: “I’m hoping that it happens again. Who knows what we’ll break out from our repertoire?”
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