BLOOMINGTON – On Friday night into Saturday morning, several slept outside to bring awareness to those who are homeless in the Solidarity Sleepout event.
In addition, the Solidarity Sleepout was a fundraiser to benefit the guests of Friends Place. During this weekend’s fundraiser so far more than $70,000 was raised.
Ginny Fullen of Bedford participated in the Solidarity Sleepout raising money for Friends Place.
“My goal was to raise $500, but thanks to the generosity of our community I raised more than $1,200 for this important cause,” said Fullen.
Fullen has volunteered over the last couple of years for the Men’s Warming Shelter and works to help those dealing with homelessness in Bedford. She also volunteers at Friends Place in Bloomington.
The goal of Solidarity Sleepout was to raise $100,000 after Friends Place took over the management of Marth’s House, which had to close over financial costs.
The community rallied to get the shelter going by raising reserve funds to be able to build the annual budget and keep the shelter open.
After five years, the reserve has been depleted and the organization is trying to reach $180,000 for the shelter’s annual budget.
The first year of the Sleepout in 2019 raised a total of $26,000.
“Last year, with the eviction from Seminary Square and a large number of public places closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the homeless population did not have a place to go,” said Fullen.
“Many people are just one paycheck away from homelessness, a divorce, illness, or other circumstances can lead to one being left out on the street,” Fullen added.
This shelter has been opened to provide a valuable resource in the homeless community.
Fullen braved cool temperatures and a strong wind that left her shivering Friday night into Sunday morning where she camped out in front of St. Vincent de Paul Church at 18th and I streets in Bedford.
This was only one evening, whereas many have to brave numerous days and nights of harsh weather, to find a safe place to sleep and not be a burden on society.