WARSAW — Combined Community Services (CCS) hosted their annual Winter Warmth Sleep Out last night, Oct 21.
Driving past the Kosciusko County Courthouse square Friday evening, tents could be seen spread throughout the lawn. The Winter Warmth Sleep Out congregated around 20 people who slept out overnight on the lawn. Participants not only raised awareness but helped raise money to go towards utility assistance, aiding people who have special need to have their heat and utilities kept on throughout the cold winter months.
“We have a lot of need this year,” stated Peggi Lisenbee, director of Client Assistance. “Our community loves to give back and I don’t think many realize this need exists. We’re out here to bring that awareness so people know they can donate.”
With the event held in October, participants only felt a small fraction of the cold that affects those who have their utilities shut off throughout the winter months. “Last year we held it [the event] in the middle of November and it was really cold,” said Sabrina Phillips, Family Development Specialist at CCS. “This year we actually have decent weather for it.” Temperatures dropped down into the high 30’s overnight.
A table with hot water for beverages and various snacks was set up by CCS for participants. People were seen bundled in heavy coats and blankets and using hand warmers to help stay warm. The cold did not stop the crowd from participating in a praise and worship service that lasted over an hour, and the singing could be heard throughout the downtown area. A cornhole set was also available to pass the time.
“This is what we do,” said Steve Possell, CCS executive director. “We just here hanging out.”
The event is supported highly by Church and ministerial groups. The top earning team this year was The Outlier Project who raised $500 for the event. The highest earning individual was Debra Vitoux who raised $1,000. In all the event raised over $10,000 that will go directly to utility assistance.
Donations are still being accepted online or by check to Combined Community Services at 1195 Mariners Drive, Warsaw. Donations can be made directly to utility assistance by specifying on the payment.