WARSAW — Combined Community Services is hosting their annual “Winter Warmth Sleep Out” Oct. 21, on the Courthouse Lawn.
The overnight event, which runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., raises funds and awareness for local families who have had their utilities shut off.
“There are events like “Tent City” that are to raise awareness for the homeless. This is a little different and isn’t about the homeless, but rather people who have had their utilities shut off for whatever reason,” says CCS Executive Director Steve Possell. “People don’t always see those struggling with keeping their heat on.”
CCS provides emergency utility assistance to families in need of help with their utility disconnect or pending disconnect. Once utilities are shut off it is often difficult for people to afford to have them turned back on. “It is always easier to keep the utilities on rather than having to turn them back on,” says John Parker, CCS Utility and Intake Liaison.
CCS partners with REMC to help with these utilities issues, but funds are always needed.
“Some of the reasons we see for this need to keep utilities on are medical related,” says Parker. “Either people have medical bills and expenses that are priority, or they have machines that they can’t let turn off or can’t get cold.” Parker states that families also frequently mention their kids or job loss when asking for assistance.
Currently a little over 25 percent of CCS’s goal has been met. “We have a goal of $30,000, but we are grateful for everything we get,” says Possell. “We are grateful for our community and their donations.” The sleep out used to attract 50-60 people, often in church groups, but last year the turn out was slim. Interested people can register online to join the event. Individuals and teams are both welcome, with awards being given to the highest fund raising team and individual.
People interested in donating to utility assistance can mail a check to Combined Community Services at 1195 Mariners Drive, Warsaw, IN 45682, and specify that it is for utility assistance. Donations can also be made to specific teams or individuals for the event online.