2016-05-11 / Home

Stephanie Cahn spends night on AC streets to aid homeless

By JAYNE JACOVA FELD Voice staff


Stephanie Cahn (right) and her best friend Wendy Raye slept in a cardboard box on Atlantic City streets during a Covenant House event that raised $52,000. Stephanie Cahn (right) and her best friend Wendy Raye slept in a cardboard box on Atlantic City streets during a Covenant House event that raised $52,000. On April 29, a cold, rainy and dreary night, Cherry Hill resident Stephanie Cahn and her best friend Wendy Raye spent the night sleeping in cardboard boxes on the streets of Atlantic City.

It was an uncomfortable night to be sure. But sleeping was actually the easy part. Before zipping up in her sleeping bag, she and 24 other women spent the evening listening to the stories of homeless teens—some inspiring; others truly heartbreaking—as part of Covenant House’s Sleep Out: Mother’s Edition.

“I knew the next day I had a car and a home to go to and I have a loving, supportive family,” said Cahn, the wife of Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn. “When many of these kids wake up the next day, some have to go to school; some have to go to work. They don’t know where or when they will get a shower; they don’t get the love they need. No, it wasn’t hard for me to sleep on the street. What was hard for me was to hear the stories and to know they’re in so much pain and suffering.”

Cahn also raised almost $7,000 for Covenant House, the largest privately-funded agency in the Americas providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care, and essential services to homeless youth in 27 cities throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America. South Jersey is served by locations in Atlantic City and Camden. The national event raised more than $568,000 of which the Atlantic City sleep out raised more than $52,000.

Cahn has been involved with the organization for several years, ever since she read a book about homelessness in preparation for an event held at the Cherry Hill library on the topic. She knew she had to get involved after hearing from formerly homeless teens dealt terrible cards but who managed to transform their lives with the help of the organization. She has organized fundraisers and awareness events both at her home and through Temple Beth Sholom.

“I really feel that a lot of what we have in life is luck,” she said. “Yes, some people work really hard for their success. But when you’re born to parents who don’t or can’t give you any help, it is all so much harder. Our kids are given the gifts of love, education and taught a moral compass. These kids are not given any of these things and my heart aches for them.” 

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