West Suburban kids bundle up for Sleep Out Saturday

In 2014 alone, 72,895 DuPage County families fell below the poverty line, according to Heartland Alliance's Social Impact Research Center. The high cost of living and low wages available to them forced many to lose their homes in the process.

This is what keeps Bridge Communities, a Glen Ellyn-based transitional housing and mentoring organization, awake at night.

To raise support for west suburban families in its programs, Bridge Communities is hosting the 13th annual "Sleep Out Saturday" on Saturday, Nov. 5. On this one night, an estimated 2,000 youth and young adults will give up warm beds and safe homes to participate in this outdoor, all-night fundraiser. Themed "#HomelessNoMore," the event will consist of 50 west suburban sleep-out sites on church lawns, school parking lots and in family backyards. From within cardboard boxes and tents, they will create awareness of the growing need for shelter for at-risk families and raise money to support Bridge Communities' housing, life-skills, mentoring, financial counseling, employment training, tutoring and auto programs.

"Sleep Out Saturday" kicks off with an outdoor rally in downtown Glen Ellyn (505 Crescent Blvd.) from 6 - 8 pm. The event is free and open to the public. It will feature live music, K-Love radio personalities and personal testimonials from current Bridge Communities families.

The continued need for fundraising is evidenced by recent statistics:

• The number of children in poverty is 9.8% of the DuPage population.

• As of June 2016, the unemployment in DuPage county was 5.1%

• Families comprise more than 50% of the homeless population, which the majority of these families headed by single women.

• Families with children are one of the fastest-growing segments of the homeless population.

• In 2015, Bridge Communities received 2,253 calls requesting information about available housing.

Since the first "Sleep Out Saturday" in 2004, more than 12,000 people have slept out to help homeless families, raising more than one million dollars to date. Every $35 raised provides one night of housing for a homeless family.

Groups or individuals of all ages are invited to participate in "Sleep Out Saturday." To register, make a donation or view stories of real families that have benefited from "Sleep Out Saturday," please visit or call Chad Pedigo at 630-545-0610, ext.19.

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