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The Sleep Out Event in Plymouth Looks To Raise $1.95 Million

Community members are sleeping in tents to raise awareness and funds for Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners in Plymouth.

This year Interfaith Outreach set a goal to raise $1.95 million. As of Wednesday, the campaign has raised $1,414,180.

To learn more about the event, Interfaith Outreach Development Director Jill Kohler answered a few questions for Plymouth Patch via email.

For those who don't know, what is The Sleep Out? What's its purpose?

Now in its 17th year, the Sleep Out is IOCP’s annual campaign to raise awareness of and funds for housing, employment, child care, food, and transportation needs of families living in the eight communities we serve. Our goal is to raise $1.95 million so we can help 1,700 struggling families achieve long-term stability.

The campaign runs from Nov. 10 to Dec. 31, 2012.

To support the campaign, community members make a donation, gather pledges and sleep out or host sleep outs at their churches, schools, businesses, homes, and in their neighborhoods. Community members also find other creative ways to raise awareness and funds such as holding cook-offs, collecting donations at their churches and holding waffle breakfasts.

How did it all start?

In 1996, local shoe repairman Bob Fisher took on the personal mission of making an impact in his community. He came up with the idea of a winter sleep out to raise money to buy Thanksgiving dinners for 100 families needing help. Bob set a goal of raising $7,000, and was committed to sleeping out in his tent until he met that goal. Two weeks later, Bob was back in his own bed, and the client families of Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP) received wonderful dinners provided through the $10,000 Bob had raised. In subsequent discussions between Bob and IOCP, Bob became aware that the most pressing need facing IOCP clients was housing. So he resolved to sleep out each year, dedicating the funds he raised to help meet the housing needs of families in our community. Over the subsequent years, Bob gathered supporters and partners from every walk of life and helped to transition the Sleep Out from a one-man effort to a campaign embraced by the entire community. Today, funds raised from the Sleep Out are used to support the housing, employment, child care, food, and transportation needs of families in the communities we serve.

What's your goal this year?

Our goal is to raise $1.95 million so we can help 1,700 struggling families achieve long-term stability.

Why should people help?

There are 1,700 struggling families in our community who need help with the very basics of life…essentials that many of us take for granted. Each year during the Sleep Out, our entire community rallies together to support mothers, fathers, children and grandparents. Join us, and be a part of this amazing effort that makes a true difference in the lives of our struggling neighbors.

How can people donate?

Visit www.iocp.org, and click on the red DONATE button.

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