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Hillsdale Man Hopes Street Sleep-Out Helps Homeless Youth

Brian O'Toole
Brian O'Toole Photo Credit: COURTESY: Brian O'Toole

HILLSDALE, N.J. -- A Hillsdale volunteer hopes a simple gesture to help homeless youth will attract the kind of support that makes a difference.

Brian O'Toole will bring a cardboard box and a sleeping bag into Manhattan and bed down for the night in a parking lot near the Lincoln Tunnel as part of the Covenant House Sleep Out on Nov. 19.

It's an ironic situation for O'Toole, a local plumber who prefers helping others quietly.

"I'm not a New York Yankees or George Steinbrenner fan, but I read once where he said that if more than two people know about a good deed, it was done for the wrong reason," he said.

The Sleep Out Movement calls on volunteers not to pretend to be homeless, O'Toole said, but to "show a group of kids unconditional love and absolute respect."

In that way, he said, you're "proving that you care enough about them to be uncomfortable for one night, to be vulnerable for their sake."

The fund raised will go toward serving the thousands of youngsters each year who turn to Covenant House for a hot meal, a roof and more -- including education, job searches and housing assistance.

Many of them live on the street. Others are staying with relatives or friends, dreading the day when no one else will take them in.

"Being in New York City and seeing these less-fortunate young people -- it's heartbreaking," O'Toole said.

"I might not always have money to donate, but I can always make time," he said. "Most people can't make the time. Hopefully, those who do have the money can give."

TO DONATE: Brian's Sleep Out Page

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