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Sleep Out Saturday funds 4,000+ housing nights

December 3, 2009

“I wonder if homeless children ever get used to sleeping in a box or a car, or if they are uncomfortable all the time? Being homeless is very hard, so sometimes people lose hope. I hope homeless people have the courage to make that call (to Bridge Communities).”

These are the reflective words that an 11 year old SOS participant shared the morning after she learn about how it felt to be homeless and spent the night sleeping on the cold, wet ground.

Sleep Out Saturday has the power to move all of us to action. To help our communities become more responsive to the needs of our neighbors and friends.

What will you do make your community a little brighter?

Here are some ideas that we thought of:

When I was hungry…you fed me.

-Keep a list of all the snacks you eat in one week. Figure out how much money you spent on those snacks and give that amount to a charity of your choice.

-Keep track of how much food you and your family throw away for one week. Donate the equivalent to a local food pantry.

-Write down how much money is spent on fast food for a month. Multiply that amount by 12 to get an approximate total of how much is spent for the year.

-Participate in the holiday food baskets that are given through the food pantry at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter

When I was thirsty…you gave me something to drink.

-We take for granted the convenience of running water. On a designated day, whenever you need a drink of water or need water for cooking, go to the faucet outdoors. Drink only water, no juice, pop or milk for that day.

When I was a stranger…you welcomed me.

-There may be a new family that has moved into your neighborhood or church. Bring a dessert over to their house and introduce yourself.

-At school, observe the new students. Invite a new student to join you during lunch or recess to meet some of your friends.

I was naked…you clothed me.

-Organize a coat drive in October. Collect coats, hats, scarves, mittens, and boots for families who can’t afford to buy those items. Donate them to a local Walk-In Ministry or clothing pantry.

-Organize a back-to-school supply drive in July. Collect notebooks, pencils, folders, crayons, markers and glue sticks. Donate them to Bridge Communities to distribute to children in our homeless housing program.

-Organize a Quarter Fundraiser – collect quarters that can be used by Bridge Communities’ client families to help pay for their laundry. All Bridge apartments have coin-operated laundry facilities.

I was sick…you took care of me.

-Perhaps a neighbor has been sick or is too old to shovel their snow or cut their grass. Volunteer to do that for them and refuse any money for your services.

-Organize a day when all the youth volunteer their services to anyone in the neighborhood who needs help with yard work in the spring. Any money raised can be donated to purchase flowers or trees around a local chosen non-profit, church, school or public building.

I was in prison…you visited me.

-Most of us are not able to visit someone in prison. A group could collect books and donate them to the county jail. If there is a juvenile facility in your area, perhaps you could donate sweatshirts and pants.

-Older people living in nursing homes sometimes feel forgotten. Organize a day to play BINGO or other games with the seniors. Bring prizes to hand out. Have a group sing-a-long.

Thank you to everyone that helped make Sleep Out Saturday such a great event. Please watch this video to learn how your contributions of time, talents and treasures are helping Bridge families every day.

Please share with us how Sleep Out Saturday motivated you to help those in your community. No act of kindness or sacrifice is too small.

Blessings to you and your for a safe and happy holiday season.

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