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Article posted: 3/29/2013 12:33 PM

PADS Lake County to host SleepOut for Shelter at Carmel

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SleepOut for Shelter, an awareness event and fundraiser that is part of an ongoing effort by PADS Lake County to end homelessness, is set for Saturday, May 11, at Carmel Catholic High School's Baker Football Stadium in Mundelein.

Sponsored by Medline Industries, Inc., Mundelein, the countywide event will give people a snapshot of what life might be like if they lost the most basic of necessities -- a safe place to live and sleep.

Proceeds will go directly to the programs and services PADS Lake County provides to the families experiencing homelessness.

"Event participants will bring attention to the issue of homelessness and raise awareness by collecting pledges to spend one night sleeping outside their homes -- in boxes, tents, or sleeping bags -- on the football field at Carmel Catholic High School," said Sari Rubin, director of Development of PADS Lake County.

"SleepOut for Shelter provides an opportunity for people of all ages to make a meaningful difference in the lives the most vulnerable in our community."

Event night programming kicks off with an one-hour inspirational rally featuring guest speakers, community leaders, and formerly homeless clients, who will share their moving stories of hope and courage. There also will be an awards presentation for the individuals and teams that raise the most money for PADS.

Following the rally, participants will spend the night taking action and making change by visiting the "It Takes a Community" Activity Area and participating in learning activities and hands-on service projects to help Lake County's homeless.

Activities include: Shelter Building Competition for prizes; real-time Text-to-Give campaign; bag lunch, care package, and tie-blanket assembly; writing and art projects to help give clients hope for a brighter future; and social action opportunities to ask government to increase funding for homeless services.

There will be music, live entertainment, food, and a designated "Kid Zone" with games and activities for families with young children.

In launching this event, Rubin said, PADS Lake County hopes to engage the entire community -- individuals, families, schools, places of worship, community organizations, youth and adult clubs, and local and area-based businesses -- in combating poverty and homelessness in Lake County.

Although each PADS operates independently, this year PADS Lake County and McHenry County PADS are joining forces by holding both SleepOut for Shelter events on May 11 in their respective counties.

"Approximately 58,000 Lake County residents, including 25,000 children, live below the poverty line," Rubin said.

"In fact, the average homeless person in Lake County is a 12-year-old child. Since 2009, PADS has seen a staggering 96 percent increase in the number of people seeking homeless services. The face of homelessness has dramatically shifted, too, as the number of families with children needing help has increased 98 percent in the last three years."

In the last year, PADS has seen a 51 percent increase in veterans, 68 percent increase in seniors, 15 percent increase in Hispanics, and 137 percent increase in individuals suffering from a mental illness, Rubin added.

For more information, visit www.sleepoutlakecounty.org, email sleepout@padslakecounty.org or call (847) 689 0548.

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