A couple years ago my beloved bride Dagmar (born in Vienna, raised in Innsbruck — a vunderful accent she has!) bundled up in her heaviest coat, grabbed her sleeping bag, and headed for the door.
“Where are YOU going?” I asked. “It’s the middle of November… You’re not thinking of sleeping in the yard, are you?”
“No, I’m going to the Siouxland Sleepout.” She paused to zip up her coat. “Ve take pledges and then go sleep in the park. Den ve give the money to homeless programs in town.” And off she went. The next morning she was home at 8 a.m. — “It was vunderful!” she said. “Ve raised tens of thousands of dollars!”
The next year, after watching the homeless population in Sioux City struggle, I decided to help out with the Sleepout. I’ve been hooked ever since! We took donations, then Dagmar and I went to the local semi-pro baseball team’s home field, gave them our moolah, had hot chocolate, listened to a little band play for a while, sat around the campfire, set up our tent (a lot of people sleep in cardboard boxes to truly get the feeling of homelessness), and eventually snoozed…
Surprisingly, there are more homeless in Sioux City than one would think! And the problem is that most people, when they think of the homeless, tend to think of the 50-year-old alcoholic sitting on the corner with his hat pulled over his ears, battered backpack next to him… But the reality is that there are a TON of homeless women and children in the area — you just don’t see them standing around on the street. Veterans, especially those who have struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, have always comprised a good proportion of the homeless population, and now with the Iraq/Afghanistan wars going into their sixth year (is that right? Wow!) we’re seeing a younger population of homeless veterans.
This year the Sleepout is scheduled for this coming Friday. The last week it’s been unseasonably warm, but Friday is supposed to have a high in the upper 30’s with rain and snow in the forecast — it should be a learning experience for us!
If anyone wants to contribute or donate to the cause, any amount would be greatly appreciated! You can donate in any number of ways — you can simply e-mail me (chris at hippieboydesign.com) to find out where to send a check or how to donate in person, or you can donate online if you prefer. I’m part of the American Legion Riders team — you can donate in our name at http://www.siouxlandsleepout.com/team_alr.html or you can go to www.siouxlandsleepout.com and make a general donation — either way is fine!
The money raised all stays local here in the Sioux City area, and it all goes towards helping the homeless.
Thank you for your attention, again, www.siouxlandsleepout.com
A great cause Chris, kudos to you!
Would that all areas had such local involvement, sir.