ST. PAUL, Minn. - Most of us can't imagine spending the night outside during the cold Minnesota winter, but that is a reality for many in our communities.

To raise awareness of those in need, and collect warm winter gear, members of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Royal Family spent Wednesday night into Thursday morning sleeping on the balcony of the Ecolab Ice Palace in Rice Park.

Charlie Lehnen, the 2018 Lord of the Queen, and Danny Maslowski, a member of the 2018 King's Guard, slept outside in single-digit temperatures.

Their goal is to encourage people to donate to a cold-weather gear collection drive happening through the end of the Winter Carnival on February 10.

Organizers are accepting donations of new or gently-used coats, hats, mittens and boots. You can bring donations to the 2019 Dodge Ram pickup, courtesy of Fury Motors, parked in Rice Park.

Neighbors, Inc., which serves families in northern Dakota County, will give distribute everything collected.

For more information, visit the Winter Carnival website here.