UT's students help homeless advocate who lost his home to fire - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

UT's students help homeless advocate who lost his home to fire

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University of Toledo students broke a school record today with the largest community service event in the school's history.  "The Big Event" is UT's annual day of community service or what students call their "Big Thanks." 

It's not easy getting nearly fifteen hundred college students to wake up early on a Saturday morning. 

"We've been badgering them for about eight months now," said Daniel Janisz, UT junior and overall director of the event. "Constantly Tweeting. Constantly sending messages and advertisement."

Student organizers said it took quite some time to plan UT's Big Event. 

"We've been planning this for a whole year," said Lindsey Hahn, UT junior and operations director of the event. "It's an interesting process."

It's not just non-profits in Toledo that will get the extra help but families, too. 

"There's about 75 different service organizations that we're going to," Hahn said. "Some of them vary between residentials."

One of the homes the students are working at today is on Robinwood Ave. in the Old West End. Steve North owns the home that was engulfed by a fire last year. His story is unique to community service. 

"I picked up my daughter and wife to run an errand and when we came back to our house on fire and we were homeless," Steve North said.

North is an advocate for the homeless in Toledo. He said his home wasn't just for his family. 

"It's a community house," North said. "A place where we have hundreds of people gather every month."

Last year, UT students helped remove all of the debris from the fire.

"This year I hear we're going to be pulling out pipes and wire," said Mary Page Dalrymple, a member of BlueKey at UT. "Can you believe that?" 

Students said helping Steve North get back into his home will help the community. 

"Knowing that he gives so much to the community, it just makes us want to help him so much more," said Angie Winkle, a member of BlueKey. "He's such a great guy. It's fun to help him when you know he's helping other people too."

North said the fire in the house was started after a cat knocked over a lit candle that was left unattended. 


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