Have you ever wondered what it is like to be homeless? There are people that live in boxes on the street on a nightly basis, but how willing would you be to step into their shoes? Now, students have an opportunity to do just that for one evening for the fundraiser, Reggie’s Sleepout. The event is this Saturday at Drake Stadium from 3 p.m.-7 a.m.
You can get event details and even directly donate – or have your friends, family and community members donate money on your behalf – by registering as an individual or starting a team, or you can join another team. While collecting all of the donations is not required, it is strongly encouraged and welcomed by the Iowa Homeless Youth Center. A simple donation is an easy way to help out a struggling child in need of a safe night.
Reggie’s Sleepout will be a bring-your-own-cardboard sleepover, so make sure to check around with local businesses before the cardboard runs out. Also, do not forget that this is Iowa, and it gets cold this time of year. If you want to keep warm while sleeping, it is advised to bring a layer of cardboard to put under your box, tent or sleeping bag. The last thing you want to do is find yourself lying in a pile of soggy cardboard. Wool socks and a heavy hat are also valuable accessories. Don’t worry about that as much, though, as a warming tent has been set up well in advance to accommodate for possible weather trouble.
At the fundraiser, guests will be able to attend many events in addition to just sleeping outside. Participants can enter the boxed design contest, engage in educational ceremonies, catch some tunes from local bands, sing their hearts out at “Reggie’s Got Talent” or take part in a game or two of good, old-fashioned Texas hold ‘em. After the chilly events, warm up a little with a late night movie at the inside set-up location.
Food will also be provided as well. An evening meal will be provided along with water, milk and hot chocolate. The Iowa Homeless Youth Center asks that participants refrain from bringing gum, food, drinks or snacks because it is the organization’s responsibility to keep the stadium clean.
No need to worry about safety, as there will be security, field marshals and a first-aid table staffed by trained volunteers. You may leave the event with the option of reentry, but know that you can only return until the doors close at 10 p.m. After that time, there will be no additional entrance in order to maintain safety.
This event certainly won’t be a place for disparity. Come on over and kick back with some friends for the evening. It may be chilly outside, but you’ll definitely stay active enough to kick the cold. Reggie’s Sleepout is your chance to sleep under the stars and give kids the chance to reach them.
Who is Reggie Kelsey?
Reggie spent his childhood in the foster care system.
He suffered from hallucinations and depression.
Reggie aged out of the foster care system in 2001 and spent some time moving between various shelters.
Within three and a half months after Reggie aged out of the foster care system, he died in the Des Moines River.
As a result of his death, the Iowa Aftercare Services Network was developed to care for those aging out of foster care.