For the past five years, First Congregational United Church of Christ of Downers Grove has been involved with Bridge Communities’ Sleep Out Saturday initiative.
This year will be no different.
About 15 members of the church youth group will sleep outside Nov. 2 during the 10th annual Sleep Out Saturday. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and money so Bridge can continue its transitional housing program, which serves more than 120 families each year and provides two years of housing, life-skills mentoring, financial counseling, employment training, tutoring and an auto repair and donation program.
The youth group will join approximately 2,000 DuPage residents who will sleep at 75 sites in DuPage yards and parking lots.
Steve Johnson, a youth ministry adult team member, said First Congregational Church is an active partner with Bridge Communities.
“We have developed relationships with many families over the years and have church members who are trained and serve as mentors to Bridge Communities families,” he said.
The youth ministry program at First Congregational Church hosts three types of events each month, including a time for fellowship, faith development and missions.
“Sleep Out Saturday allows us to do all three,” Johnson said. “We serve by sleeping out and collecting pledges, we study by learning about homeless needs in our community and we have fun together at the rally and during our sleep out activity.”
He lauds endeavors such as Sleep Out Saturday.
“These initiatives are important because organizations like Bridge Communities do great work and events such as these allow more people to learn about their work and support their work,” he said. “We are called by Jesus to serve those without shelter, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. It matters that we teach this to our youth through experiences such as this.”
Sleep Out Saturday will kick off at 7 p.m. with an outdoor rally hosted by NCB5 anchor Stephan Holt in downtown Glen Ellyn, 505 Crescent Blvd. The free rally is open to the public and will feature music, video, and live testimonials from Bridge Communities clients.
Everyone in DuPage County is invited to participate in Sleep Out Saturday or to make a contribution.For more information on Sleep Out Saturday, to participate or to sponsor a sleeper, call 630-545-0610 ext. 19 or go to www.SleepOutSaturday.org.
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