Homeless For the Holidays

By Marina Davalos

It’s that time of year again when firefighters, police and paramedics set up camp in various locations around the Cape and sleep outside for Homeless for the Holidays. The event helps to raise money and collect food and toys for people in need. This year’s event kicked off at 8 a.m. today, Dec. 6, and runs until Sunday, Dec. 10, for 103 straight hours.

Retired Bourne firefighter and paramedic Craig Poirier started the event in 2002. “I went to the Red Apple Deli on Main Street (in Buzzards Bay) and asked them if I could sleep in their parking lot to raise money,” says Poirier. He says about 10 other firefighters joined him that cold night, and the event grew from there. Poirier partnered with PIXY 103, hence the 103 hours.

This year’s event has expanded to 21 Cape fire departments in 10 different locations “from Bourne to Brewster,” says Poirier. Police and Cape Cod Ambulance will also participate.

Bourne firefighters will kick off the event at the Bay Motor Inn in Bourne. Fifteen live bands will entertain throughout the duration of the event, along with PIXY 103’s DJ Matty B.

Since its inception, Homeless for the Holidays has raised a total of $292,988, and collected more than 19,000 food items and nearly 50,000 toys.

“It brings a whole new light to homelessness,” says Poirier. “You should see how excited the children got when we brought the 3,500 toys we collected to the Bourne Community Building. It’s emotional.”

Bay Motor Inn, 223 Main St., 508-759-3989

 For more information, to volunteer or make a donation, visit homelessfortheholidays.net.

 Follow Homeless for the Holidays on Facebook.

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