Phillies legends among hundreds who 'slept out' in Center City to raise money for homeless kids

Mike Dougherty
November 22, 2019 - 8:39 am
Charlie Manuel sleeps on the streets to raise money for homeless youth.

Mike Dougherty/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Phillies' Charlie Manuel and Larry Bowa slept outside with 200 other people in Center City on Thursday night to raise money for homeless kids. 

As November nights go, it was a pretty mild one. Manuel and Bowa lay their sleeping bags on the bricks in the courtyard of the Friends Center at 15th and Cherry streets to get a feel for what homeless and runaway kids experience. 

Bowa said the hardest part about the night wasn't sleeping on the bricks; it was thinking about what homeless kids are going through.

"You know, we did it for a night," Bowa said. "And just multiply that by what they're going through. And the family problems that they have. There's a lot of situations out there that can be fixed by people being more aware of what's going on."

Manuel is battling a bad cold, but he was committed to tough it out.

"And I think it's going to give people a second chance in life — or a first chance — and I think if you can just help one person, and he changes his life around, I think that will be big things."

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This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Covenant House, an international non-profit that provides housing and supportive services for young people in need. Individuals across the country raised money for Thursday's Sleep Out America by gathering sponsors. 

Covenant House Pennsylvania collected $525,000 in one night alone. Interim Executive Director Hugh Organ said he was blown away by the support.

"That's an incredible amount. That's about 10% of our whole budget, so it's a huge amount. To operate our entire program, it's about a $5 million budget. So this is a huge help to keeping our operations going," Organ said.

He says there are about 100 beds between their two Philadelphia facilities.

"We do street outreach as well," Organ said, "so our street outreach team goes out five nights a week, going to the streets of Philadelphia to contact runaway, homeless, and trafficked youth and bring them into the shelter."

Thousands of others, like Manuel and Bowa, slept outside in more than 30 Covenant House cities.