CRYSTAL LAKE – The Pioneer Center wants people to sleep outside to help others get in.
The fifth annual SleepOut for Shelter is set for May 10 and will again aim to raise tens of thousands of dollars for McHenry County PADS, a program of the Pioneer Center for Human Services.
For the past four years, SleepOut for Shelter has helped raise awareness and money for the county's largest homeless shelter service, generating $70,000 last year with more than 600 participants in nine locations.
Residents can still get involved in this year's event by registering as a participant, sponsor or fundraiser. Registered participants would get the full experience of sleeping outside for a night in a homemade box shelter, tents or even cars while sponsors could donate to a participant and fundraisers can raise money without sleeping outside.
Those interested can go to www.sleepoutforshelter.org for more information and to register. All who register will get their own fundraising page on the site to collect donations from family, friends and colleagues.
The event, which will be held at Living Waters Lutheran Church at 1808 Miller Road in Crystal Lake, will start with a one-hour rally hosted by Star 105.5 FM that includes a dance party, cookout, “shelter” box-building competition and more. After the rally, participants spend the night outside in tents, boxes or cars at the church.
Participants can also spend the night in their backyard or a friend's yard, as well as other locations.
Homelessness is a growing problem in the county. McHenry County PADS has seen a 51 percent increase in the need for services since 2009.