Sleep Out Serves The Homeless

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Hurricane Katrina and a still-stubborn economy have made many of us realize how fortunate we are to have a warm, safe place to call home.  Kim Riemland reports on members of an Illinois community willing to experience homelessness, so that others won’t.

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(Locator: Glen Ellyn, Ill.)

The front lawn of this United Methodist church outside Chicago is not the normal spot for camping. And with the chill in the air and storms in the forecast…

Camper: “It’s damp now, that’s for sure.”

…it’s certainly not the normal time of year.

Nat sound of rally: “And we are sleeping out in the cold so that other people can sleep inside!”

1,500 people all across this community are giving up their warm beds for one night…

Martha Staky/Sleep Out Participant: “Sleepin’ in the car!”

…to sleep out for the homeless.

Martha Staky/Sleep Out Participant: “We can do a lot to help. In this way tonight, we raise money and awareness. So we’re trying to help in little ways like that, that we can.”

This event raised 30,000 dollars last year, and brought out triple the participants this year.

In their cars and their tents, they settle in for slumber…

(Storm begins)

…and learn firsthand how quickly the fun can wear off.

Kyle LaPoint/Sleep Out Participant: “It’s hard a lot of the times for the homeless because they have to go through storms like this. It would be a really scary feeling, because you’re alone, in the dark, in a thunderstorm, with lightning and rain.”

The Rev. Claude King/Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Glen Ellyn: “It’s the way people live out on the streets.”

United Methodist pastor Claude King says the weather might make this night uncomfortable, but what a way to drive the message home.

The Rev. Claude King/First United Methodist Church of Glen Ellyn: “You know, it’s probably going to be soggy, but a lot of people out here don’t have homes, they’re dealing with it and it’s not just a one night thing for them. It’s an every night thing. It’s an every night thing.”


More than 50 churches and groups participated in the Sleep Out . Organizers expect to collect $80,000 as a result of the event. The money raised will help the agency “Bridge Communities” provide emergency and transitional housing, as well as programs to help families become self-sufficient.

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