Area church and youth groups are preparing to sleep outside in tents and cardboard boxes on Saturday, Oct. 12, to raise awareness of people who are dealing with hunger and poverty.
The Sleep Out is an annual fundraiser for Love in the Name of Christ – Heartland, or Love INC, to help the nonprofit organization provide ongoing support to community members in need. Love INC – Heartland serves residents of Independence, Loretto, Greenfield, Rockford, Mayer, Montrose, Howard Lake, Waverly, Delano, Watertown and Maple Plain. Donations can be made directly to groups sleeping outside on the evening of the event or through the organization’s website. Donation boxes also can be found in area churches and businesses. Sleep Out donations can be mailed to Love INC – Heartland at P.O. Box 143, Delano, MN 55328. Love INC’s goal this year is to raise $20,000.
“As the weather turns, cold families need additional help with heating bills, warm clothes, winterized vehicles, blankets and many other services,” said Terri Harris, director of Love INC – Heartland. “The number of people turning to relief agencies for assistance continues to increase. Love INC – Heartland served 23,419 needs last year. We coordinate a variety of services sponsored by our member congregations and we do so without duplicating other service agencies’ efforts.
“The Sleep Out is a great service project for any family, youth or civic group,” Harris said. “Love INC – Heartland makes it easy to participate with Sleep Out kits available to any group.”
Love INC Heartland is a network of 26 area churches of all denominations who work together to support neighbors in need. Headquartered at 318 Railroad Ave., Delano, it operates a Gift and Thrift store that is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday and Saturday. The store is open to the public and accepts donations. For assistance, to donate or to learn more, call 763-972-6547 or visit www.LoveINCHeartland.org.
According to information in the Minneapolis-based Emergency Foodshelf Network’s 2009 annual report, the number of children in Minnesota living in extreme poverty has doubled since 2000.