Every October I’m stuck with the task of writing something about Bridge Communities and Sleep Out Saturday for the church newsletter. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to come up with new words to express the same thing year after year?
But Sleep Out Saturday is upon the church youth and I. Literally, it’s in like 3 weeks. Every youth will raise $50+ on their own, some through envelopes, some via the internet. Plus, each will sit out at church collecting starting this Sunday in hopes of raising $2000. Last year they did it and even had it matched by a donor.
Then on November 5th the youth will bring tents or boxes, along with blankets and hoodies and winter caps and such to sleep out. There will be a rally then back to hang out at church then climbing into our make-shift beds for the evening, hoping to get a decent night’s sleep. I sleep in my car and you know, it’s not so bad. Humbling, actually.
I’m helping the youth do whatever it is they need to do to raise money., However, I’m on a personal mission to raise a full $200 on my own for Bridge Communities, which is near and dear to me, as is pointed out below. Last year I did about $150 so I’m hoping to get to $200.
Dear Readers, whoever you are, please consider giving even a small amount. Families all over DuPage County here in the Chicagoland area are in need of a home, especially as the cold sets in.
You all will read this year’s church newsletter article soon. For now, let’s time warp back to last year…
Written for the November 2015 church newsletter (with some minor edits):
Many of my friends like to run. I’m not a runner, unless something is chasing me, like my two year old niece in playful fun. And many of my friends run or walk for a charity. They get sponsors and donations online, posting links of where to donate on Facebook. And then pictures are posted of the before and after, with a thank you to all who supported them. I love seeing how passionate they are over running, walking or doing whatever for their charity.
And in the same breathe I think, “All of my friends run marathons or walk several miles for their charities. All I do is sleep in my car, in the cold, for one night. And that’s not including the fun activities I do with the youth before climbing into my car-bed.” But it doesn’t matter. Because whatever marathon or walk-a-thon, whatever charity link is posted on my friends’ pages, Sleep Out Saturday is equally important. And it has become one of my passions.
Homelessness is, in my opinion, a disease in country. It saddens me to think that people who work and work, trying to make ends meet, cannot find anywhere to call home other than a tent, a park bench, or maybe a car. How can a person choose between food and shelter? Aren’t those basic human needs? I mean, if Chicago was located in Hawaii or California, living outside wouldn’t be as bad. But when our winters are ugly, cold and full of snow and ice, living outside isn’t fun. One can do without a shower but our bodies were not made to live in the cold, at least not without proper coats and blankets and such. And if you can’t afford food, finding a warm coat may be difficult was well.
All of this leads to Sleep Out Saturday.
Bridge Communities is doing a wonderful thing here in DuPage County by taking families off the street and providing for them a means to get back on their feet. And it starts first with shelter. For a mere $35 a day, Bridge Communities can keep one person in a home. It doesn’t seem like a lot but to that person you can bet it is a huge amount!
Sleep Out Saturday is our chance to raise awareness that even in affluent communities here in DuPage County, homelessness is an issue. No one should be left out in the cold. And it’s time to do something, even a small dent.
If you would like to donate to my efforts in Sleep Out Saturday on November 5, please go to: https://www.sleepoutsaturday.org/therevamanda. Every little bit counts.
On that night, the church youth and I will hunker down in tents, boxes and cars to raise awareness about homelessness and to make #HomelessNoMore a reality.
If you are unable to donate, please pray for those of us sleeping out that evening all over our community and for those who live day in and day out, wondering where their next bed might be located.
Peace, Pastor Amanda (a.k.a. TheRevAmanda)