This piggy-backs my other post regarding Sleep Out Saturday from October 12, 2016 – Misc. Wednesday: Sleeping Out for a Cause.
From the (upcoming) November church newsletter: Sleep Out Saturday 2016
I remember three years ago thinking, “I don’t know if I can do this. The cold and I are like oil and water – we don’t mix.” And yet sleeping outside in November was such a humbling experience.
Last year during Sleep Out Saturday I actually slept, all covered in blankets in the passenger seat of my car. Don’t get me wrong, I tossed and turned, my back hurt by about 4am, my neck had a cramp in it for the rest of the day and I still sort of nodded off during worship. It was sleep; I didn’t say it was great.
Yet this has become the one event every year I look forward to participating in; perhaps because it hits home a little more than I care to admit.
When I was fresh out of seminary, I had a ton of debt. I had a job but most of my earnings went to bills, leaving nothing substantial for me to live on. Thankfully I only had me to support. And I had loving parents who provided me with a warm bed and room, food and help when I needed it. Many are not so fortunate. I counted my blessings each and every day. With the blessings I’ve been given, I’m giving back a little at a time where I can, especially to the two people who cared for me.
On top this, Sleep Out Saturday hits home for me even more because I love children. I can’t imagine my nieces and nephews living in a car or sleeping in tents behind a store. I can’t imagine their bellies rumbling from hunger or wearing ratty clothes. It’s too painful to think about. Yet there are many in our own community that this is a daily reality.
Many teens mask the fact that they live out of a car, many scrounge for food where they can. Mothers and fathers, grandparents and other guardians face challenges of finding a warm, dry, safe place to sleep that hopefully includes something more than a peanut butter sandwich. This is the reality for many who are not so fortunate to have family looking out for them. It breaks my heart.
The SYF youth and I will bundle up and sleep in boxes, tents and cars on Saturday, November 5 to raise awareness and funds for Bridge Communities, an organization that I think holds a special place in many of our hearts for all various sorts of reason. Our hope is to raise as much money to make #HomelessNoMore a reality.
If you would like to donate to my efforts in Sleep Out Saturday on November 5, please go to: https://www.sleepoutsaturday.org/therevamanda.
If you are unable to donate, please pray for those 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. The Rev. Amanda)