PADS Lake County is hosting its second annual “SleepOut for Shelter” overnight event at the Libertyville Sports Complex on June 7 and 8 to create awareness and raise funds for the services PADS provides to local men, women and children who experience homelessness.
Stephen Love, Community Partnership coordinator for PADS Lake County, said the organization is asking the community “If you could spend one night sleeping outside so others wouldn’t need to, would you do it?” Last year, many people answered the call and slept outside, braving temperatures that dropped to 33 degrees. This year, PADS hopes to have more participants gain a greater understanding of what it’s like to be homeless.
“We are excited to provide this opportunity for people to gain this experience and resultant empathy for people who experience homelessness,” said Love said. “It provides a small glimpse into the circumstances that far too many people in our community face. But it also provides an opportunity to make a difference.”
Participants who register for the SleepOut for Shelter create a team that will then raise funds for the programs that PADS provides to the homeless. Participants get funds from their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and more. The teams that raise the most money by choosing to sleep outside will get awards at the opening rally.
The opening rally will kick off at 7 p.m. June 7 with guest speakers, community leaders, and awards and prizes. Everyone is welcome at the rally, regardless of their decision to spend the night. After the rally, there will be numerous events and activities, including the popular Shelter Building Competition.
In this competition, participants build “shelters” out of cardboard boxes, tarps, or other things, forced to rely on creativity and limited resources. How would they protect themselves from the elements?
“Because PADS does such a great job of providing shelter, very few people in our community actually need to stay in these types of ‘shelters’,” said Joel Williams, executive director of PADS. “But it does make people think — what if we didn’t have a choice? What if PADS wasn’t there? It provides a great opportunity to consider these things, while having a little bit of fun at the same time.”
Participants who do sleep out will be encouraged to sleep in the “shelters” that they made, but tents are also allowed at the event.
For more information and to register for the event, visit www.padslakecounty.org/sleepout