Delta leaders sleep on the streets to fight youth homelessness
With sleeping bags and cardboard serving as their beds for the evening, Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice President – New York; Cyril Turner, President – Delta Global Services and Delta Private Jets; Ranjan Goswami, Vice President – Sales, West; Andrew Wingrove, Managing Director – Merchandising; John ‘Foosh’ Fechushak, Vice President – DTW Operations; Steven Larkin, Director – Sales, Canada; and four additional Delta leaders based in Detroit took to the sidewalks alongside hundreds of other corporate leaders at the annual Covenant House Sleep Out.
The nonprofit Covenant House organization provides care and vital services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked and exploited children throughout the country. Delta supports Covenant House facilities in California, Georgia, Michigan, New York and Toronto providing volunteers and funding to help the group in its mission of getting kids off the streets.
This was a repeat appearance for some of these leaders. Grimmett, a member of the organization’s board of directors, has been a part of the sleep-out in New York for three consecutive years. She documented her evening this year with a video diary, sharing her impressions of her interactions and experiences throughout the night.
Goswami returned for a second year in LA. “As always, a humbling experience,” he said. “I am struck each year with the fact that we as sleepout-ers don't have to worry for our safety. To have to fret about that in addition to being in the elements must be unbearable.”
In Atlanta, Cyril and Andrew participated for the first time. “I’m dragging a bit today,” said Turner on Friday morning. “Imagine going to a job or an interview after having a restless night – every night. This was truly a humbling experience.”
Andi Newman, Senior Vice President – Government Affairs, spent a cold night on the streets of Detroit last year, but this was the first time for Michigan-based Delta people Fechushak, Dana Debel, Jim Breaugh, Eric Pricco, and Cookie Gonzalez. “It is so important to realize how much I have to be thankful for – a roof over my families head, a fridge full of food, a good job. These are basics that so many are struggling with,” said Debel. “But I left the event feeling hopeful. Covenant House has figured out how to break the cycle. We can end homelessness. It is possible. They are doing it. They just need our help.”
This was the first year that Delta was represented in Canada. Larkin also invited a leader from American Express Travel to participate in the fundraising event. More than $1,000,000 was raised to help Toronto’s youth – the largest city in Canada.
All together, the sleep-outs raised $6.8 million for Covenant House.
A photo album featuring images from Delta’s participation across the country is available below: