On February 5, 2021, my family and I participated in the Home Sweet Home Ministries (“HSHM”) Night In A Car Event. This Night In A Car Event is HSHM’s largest annual fundraiser.
At “Night In A Car”, individuals and families volunteer to sleep one night in their car in the parking lot of Trinity Lutheran Church to simulate what it’s like to be homeless. This year on the night of the event, it was a bitterly cold night with a low of 12 degrees F and with wind- chill advisories.
My family and I attempted to spend all night in our truck. My two teenagers stayed in the cab of the truck, while my wife and I slept in the bed of the truck under the truck topper. Even with layers of clothes and blankets and with the truck heater on, we could only make it until 2:30 am before deciding to head home.
Frost was building up inside the topper
and nobody was able to sleep! Our hands and feet were frozen – it was horrible!
I've never felt so grateful for a warm house and warm bed when we got home at 3:00 am that morning. Even though we didn’t last the whole night, this experience with my family made me realize a few things about homelessness:
Unless someone has a safety-net (or multiple safety nets) such as a family, friends, church, nest egg/rainy day fund, etc. that can help them in time of need – anyone could find themselves homeless.
Notwithstanding any “safety nets” described above - mental illness is a major cause of homelessness.
When someone finds themselves homeless – you are literally just trying to survive. Where do you find your next meal? Where do you go to the Bathroom? Where will you rest? You are constantly worrying about your safety.
If a family with young children is homeless, I don’t know how anyone can get back on their feet without some help.
Home Sweet Home Ministries provides help and support to those in the Bloomington-Normal, IL area that find themselves homeless in our community.
HSHM provides Emergency Shelter Services. While receiving Emergency Shelter Services, residents are matched with a caseworker who assists with housing, daycare, employment and referral services.
Hundreds of individuals achieve independence each year with the help they receive from the staff at Home Sweet Home Ministries.
THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to Team Ritchie’s efforts to raise donations for Night In A Car. We had over 40 people donate and raised $2,650!
The Night In A Car Event in total raised over $100,000 for the Home Sweet Home Ministries!
My eyes were really opened to homelessness in our community and made me even more grateful for what I have.
This article is a service of Attorney Chad A. Ritchie and the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd.
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