Sleepout looks to raise $15K to help those in need

Volunteers curl up in blankets to fight the cold during The Bridge’s annual Sleepout.

SAYRE — For the past 17 years, volunteers of The Bridge of the Penn-York Valley Churches has simulated what life is like for someone in desperate need.

Known as the Sleepout, the fundraiser puts volunteers out in the elements for one-hour increments for 24 hours with no heat nor electricity to simulate how difficult life can be for those in need.

“This year, we have a goal of $15,000,” The Bridge’s Kim Paul said prior the Sayre Borough Christmas Parade. “We have our barrel out for people to donate. We have some hot chocolate, and we really enjoy being part of the community during events like this.”

Like last year, the Sleepout was set up on Desmond Street instead of being located outside the Sayre Theatre. While The Bridge will always be grateful to the Bradford County Regional Arts Council for allowing the Sleepout to be set up there in the past, said Paul, they also appreciate the new location.

“We have lots more visibility here along the main drag of the parade route,” she said. “More people see us and we feel more like a part of the parade. But the Sayre Theatre was always great to us.”

According to Paul, 25 percent of the cash donations go to Kids at Risk, which provides for the needs of area school children. Another 25 percent will go to the Valley Food Pantry with 50 percent going to The Bridge’s general fund, which provides one-time vouchers for housing, utilities or other emergency needs for all the remaining ministries such as catastrophic and interim assistance, Clothes Closet and Helping Hands.

Also returning this year is the school district clothes drive, which last year brought in 6,000 pairs of socks among the students of Athens, Sayre, Waverly and Epiphany.

“This year, we’re looking for pants,” Paul said. “And Athens won last year, so we’ll have to see if they’ll defend their title.

The Sleepout continues throughout the day today on Desmond Street, where volunteers will welcome friendly holiday goodwill and fellowship.

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or jwilliams@morning-times.com. Follow Johnny Williams on Twitter @johnnywMT

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