WARSAW — Wearing layers of clothing, heavy gloves, hats, coats with more clothing available as the temperature dips into the 30s overnight, and warm sleeping bags, a dozen individuals, including a few children, are camping out on the courthouse lawn in Warsaw. They are participating in the first “Camp On The Courthouse” to raise money for Combined Community Services utility program.
Their time at the “camp” started at 6 p.m. tonight, Nov. 13, and will end at 6 a.m. Saturday. They will experience what many experience each winter – having only the clothing they are wearing to keep them warm because there is not enough money or no money available to provide heat in their home or apartment. Many have to decide between food, medication or heat.
“We have people come in all the time,” said Steve Possell, executive director for Combine Community Services. “We don’t have enough money and have to turn people away.” This event, with another one planned for December, is to raise awareness of the need for funds, and to raise funds. “We see people all the time who have their utilities shut off,” added Possell.
Pledges have been received by those participating and KREMC will match what is raised up to $5,000. The money will be used in CCS’s Winter Warmth program.
The event, also known as “Sleep Out 2015” is hosted by the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association.
CCS knows every single day in Kosciusko County, someone goes without. Someone doesn’t have heat in their home. Someone sleeps in their coat to keep warm because they have turned the thermometer dangerously low to avoid an unaffordable utility bill. Someone brings all their children into one room and one bed so they can stay warm during the night. Someone goes without their medication so they can pay their utility.
They also know every single day in Kosciusko County, dozens of families are on the verge of being in that position. CCS Emergency Assistance sees those families.
Some are elderly and on a fixed income. Some have lost their jobs. Some are working at minimum wage and their budget is just too tight to cover unexpectedly high bills. Some are going to college to better provide for their children’s futures and are unable to work full time until they finish. Some are experiencing an immediate crisis: the death of a spouse, a grave illness, or a plant closing. And a few made bad choices and are trying to turn their lives around.
Combined Community Services Emergency Assistance programs meets with individuals who have a disconnect notice for their utility. We work with them to keep their utilities on and to find options to improve their life situations.
Watch for more information on the December “Camp On The Courthouse” to either be a participant or donate. Contact Sabrina Phillips @ [email protected] or [email protected] come in to Combined Community Services 1195 Mariners Drive, Warsaw, or call (574) 269-6019 ext 222.