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Dec. 2 ‘Sleepout’ to aid programs for homeless

MIDDLEBURY/VERGENNES — The annual “Sleepout” near the Otter Creek Falls is one of John Graham Housing & Services’ biggest fundraising efforts each year.
This year’s edition will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2. It will begin with a candlelight vigil on the Middlebury green beginning at 4 p.m.
Participants can bring a bag of food, a box of diapers, toiletries, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, a new quilt or set of sheets for a family moving into a home.
The Sleepout will take place on the Marble Works side of the Otter Creek Falls, following a meal at St. Stephen’s Church. Participants will pitch tents or other makeshift shelter and spend one night experiencing what the homeless feel on a regular basis — cold, anxiety and uncertainty.
Each Sleepout member is seeking financial sponsors, with the money going to JGHS. For information on how to contribute and/or donate, log on to tinyurl.com/yajub2gf.
As of last Wednesday, Sleepout pledges stood at approximately $35,000. John Graham Executive Director Elizabeth Ready was hoping for more support as time ticks away toward the big event.
Area advocates for the homeless said raising funds for local causes is becoming more challenging. One of the major reasons: Other worthy causes on the national (Hurricanes Harvey and Irma) and global (Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico) stages are competing for limited philanthropic dollars.
“We really need local people to support local services and the United Way,” Ready said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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