Did you sleep in a warm bed, under a roof and in a place you call home?
As over 500,000 Americans are homeless, Sleep Out Saturday is giving DuPage County residents a sense of what it’s like to live without a home too.
“It’s not something you do everyday and so any time you can put yourself in a new situation to stretch your boundaries as to what you’re comfortable about, I think you’ll learn a lot not only about yourself but about the people who this is not just a night out of the year this is an every day and every night situation that they have to deal with,” said Dan Joyner Miller, an associate pastor of youth and family ministry at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Naperville.
All night on November 4, civic organizations, churches, synagogues, and individual residents slept inside tents, boxes, and cars to raise awareness and money for family homelessness in DuPage.
A youth group at St. Timothy Lutheran Church took part.
“I just hope to gain more awareness about how life is for homeless people and how they have to do this almost every night,” said 14-year-old Abby McKenna, a ninth-year participant of Sleep Out Saturday.
“I want to start helping the homeless more because I feel like I haven’t paid attention to them enough and recently I’ve felt like I should pay attention and help them,” said 14-year-old Sarai Sansone, a first timer at Sleep Out Saturday.
Bridge Communities Transitional Housing Program puts on Sleep Out Saturday every year.
And if you’re considering participating next year, take some words of advice from a veteran.
“Definitely don’t under prepare,” said 16-year-old David Krawczyk, an eight-year Sleep Out Saturday participant. “For the first few years I thought I would be fine with just a sweatshirt and a few blankets and I did not get a lot of sleep those nights. So just bring everything you can.”
You can donate to Sleep Out Saturday and help provide housing and services to a homeless family at Bridge Communities’ website.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.