Bridge Communities’ Sleep Out Saturday is an annual event designed to give the more fortunate a small sense of what it’s like to be homeless for a night. People sleep outside in tents, boxes, or other shelters.
Small Groups and Families
This year, on November 7, the nonprofit is encouraging participation among families rather than large groups spending the whole night together. Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church takes part every year.
“One of the reasons that we as a church partner with Bridge Communities is how restorative their approach is to people who are facing homelessness,” said the church’s Director of Youth Ministries Stephanie Engel. “It’s not just about providing a night of warmth and food. But it’s really about partnering up with them, walking with them, developing relationships so that they can continue to thrive and flourish in life beyond when they’re a bridge client.”
Our Saviour’s Virtual Activities
Though Our Saviour’s isn’t hosting one large group sleep out, they’re still hoping to bring a sense of community with virtual activities.
“This year we have to make sure we’re following all the social distancing practices,” said Matthew Felbein, who helped plan the event. “We’re having a start ceremony thing where we’ll all gather at church for an hour, we’ll get to start off the night, be together socially distanced, and have some fun, maybe do some learning. And then throughout the night we’re planning on doing some virtual things. We can do some zooms where we have guests from Bridge Communities virtually zoomed in to us so we can hear their experiences.”
Sleep Out Saturday also serves as a way to raise awareness for Bridge Communities. Their programs have helped local families get out of homelessness and more.
“Without Bridge I don’t think I would be in the position, my family would be in this position to actually be able to rent and to manage my budget. They give you the tools and all the skills to succeed,” said Michelle Ambroz, who graduated from the Bridge program in June.
Now, the Ambroz family is helping promote the nonprofit, along with events like Sleep Out Saturday.
“Without Bridge I don’t think we would have a roof over our head right now,” said Nathaniel Ambroz.
Helping out by sleeping out.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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