Sleep-out to raise awareness for homeless in county

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By Rachel Johnson, Staff Writer

Several area ministries have joined together to bring awareness to the homeless problem in Brunswick County.

In an effort to share their story, Brunswick County Streetreach, Building Hope Ministries, Unleashed Ministries, Sonburst Youth Ministry, Breath of Life Ministries and the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition are inviting the community to participate in a sleep-out called One Homeless Night.

It will be Saturday, Oct. 6, starting at noon at 1009 Hewett Road, Supply at the Building Hope Ministries office. It concludes on Sunday, Oct. 7, with a light breakfast and prayer.

“The sleep-out is designed for almost any group or individual who wants to actively participate in learning about homelessness and make a positive impact on our community,” said the Rev. Donna Phelps, president of Brunswick County Streetreach.

Participants are asked to leave their cell phones, iPods, radios, computers and other electronics at home and spend 24 hours outside.

There is no cost to participate. Attendees are asked to bring an item to donate to the interfaith winter night sheltering program. Items needed vary from hygiene bags and sleeping bags to new socks and under-clothing to gloves and raincoats.

Registration begins at noon Saturday with a hot dog lunch. Participants will then set up their camping areas. Tents are welcome, and there will be a covered area for cots and sleeping bags.

Throughout the day, guest speakers and performers will share their experiences working with the homeless, and there will be a variety of activities.

The goal is to bring awareness and keep the conversation about homelessness in Brunswick County going.

Brunswick County Streetreach currently operates host sites during the coldest months of the year (November through February). The nonprofit organization was formed in fall 2011. Its goal is to connect the homeless to temporary shelter provided by interfaith churches throughout the county.

A listing of host sites for the winter months for homeless shelters may be found online at www.bcstreetreach.org or by calling 842-2711.

Anyone wanting to participate in the sleep-out is welcome. For more information, call 842-2711 or 742-7459.