MONCTON, N.B. -- Homelessness in Moncton continues to be a serious problem, but the community has allies from three local high schools.

The students are determined to help and are holding an event to improve conditions in their hometown.

The last year has been difficult for many, but those already living in vulnerable situations have been hit especially hard.

"I think this year has even more significance to it just because of the pandemic, how hard it has been on everyone, especially those that are homeless right now," said Reese Mann, who is organizing the second annual spring Wonderland festival even more important.

Last year, students at Bernice McNaughton High School joined forces with L’Odysee High School to raise $2,000 for the Moncton YMCA’s Reconnect program.

Their 2021 fundraising efforts begin later this week.

"We’ve been graciously donated items or services, gift cards from local give businesses in Moncton and we’re going to begin that auction on Friday," said Mann.

The students have set a goal of $3,000 this year. To help reach that amount, they have recruited help from Moncton High School.

"I just really cannot imagine how it would feel to be homeless and to live without that sort of safety stability and security and I knew that as a citizen in this community, I had the duty to help people," said Emma Gevaudan, the Moncton High School student council president.

The money raised for the Reconnect program will go toward client needs like getting the documents required for housing and identification, but also items to help in the short term.

"If they’re sleeping outside, it could be a sleeping bag, it could be hand-warmers, food, prescriptions, whatever it is," said Trevor Goodwin, the Moncton YMCA's senior outreach director.

Homeless is not just a "big-city" issue and Goodwin says the students efforts are appreciated.

"We wouldn’t be able to have anywhere near the impact that we do have on the vulnerable population," Goodwin said.

Another fundraising effort called the spring Wonderland event is scheduled for May 15.