Fundraiser on homelessness awareness planned at 2 sites
CHAMPAIGN — C-U at Home, the organization housing some of the community's most vulnerable homeless folks, will repeat its winter fundraiser, One Winter Night, in which people spend a cold night outside in boxes.
But this year, One Winter Night will be held in two places, in downtown Champaign like last year, and on the University of Illinois Quad.
Organization founder and leader Melany Jackson said she wanted to keep the support and visibility of downtown Champaign for the event, set for overnight Feb. 1-2.
But, she also said, "we've been getting more and more of the university community involved."
How One Winter Night works: Volunteers raise donations to experience a cold winter night outside — the way homeless people do, without the comfort of a warm house and bed.
Participants will be outdoors from 6 p.m. Feb. 1 to 6 a.m. Feb. 2.
Money raised will help foot the cost of rent, utilities and support for three formerly homeless persons C-U at Home is currently housing and those expenses for a fourth man who will be sharing one of the rental houses in January, Jackson said.
A recent survey done by her organization in Champaign-Urbana and Rantoul identified eight additional "most vulnerable homeless people" — those living in streets and most vulnerable to dying there — than last year's survey.
Two of last year's most vulnerable homeless people have died, Jackson said, and her organization believes there are now 22 most vulnerable homeless people in the three cities.
While the winter fundraiser is two months away, C-U at Home has begun rounding up volunteers because it will need a lot of them.
Jackson said about 200 volunteers will be needed to staff both locations: She hopes to get 30 to 40 people sleeping out in boxes in each location, and plenty of volunteers at both places to help with registration, hospitality, working the drive-through and collecting donations, she said.
Students participating are being asked to raise $50 each in donations, and downtown participants are being asked to reach out to the business community and try to raise $1,500 each, Jackson said.
To donate or volunteer, call 819-4569 or visit http://www.cuathome.us.