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SleepOut Helps to Wipe Out Homelessness

PADS SleepOut for Shelter draws a crowd in only its second year.

High winds and a few rain drops weren't enough to keep the from being a success. In its second year, Saturday's event brought in over 300 participants and raised about $60,000 to help end homelessness.

Set up in two official locations— in Crystal Lake and Petersen Park in McHenry—people came out to enjoy the entertainment, sleep in tents and even boxes, and to raise money for , a division of the Pioneer Center.

"We've done a good job of getting the word out. We've added two different sites and they're located in two well-populated areas," Pioneer Center's Vice President of Human Resources Sandra Salgado said.

The money was raised through SleepOut teams collecting pledges, along with registration fees for spending the night at one of the sites. Concession stands were also set up.

Entertainment was also provided at each site, including brothers Jim & Justin, part of the popular area group the Modern Day Romeos.

But the main point of the evening was raising awareness of the homeless.

"I have family and friends that are about two paychecks away from being in big big trouble and the more we raise awareness about it the more people become more open instead of turning their back on it," Salgado said. "I live in McHenry and I've seen homeless people and I really don't think people realize that it exists. And it does."

in Crystal Lake also took part in the event by using their parking lot as a site and staying open throughout the night, just in case an attendee needed some coffee in the middle of the night.

One team that came out to the McHenry site to support the event was the National Honor Society (NHS) at McHenry High School. The team of almost 20 helped run one of the activity tables and used the opportunity to get the word out about the adventures and bonding of the NHS and what the group does to help the community.

"It was kind of like a last-minute type of thing for us (coming out to SleepOut for Shelter). We weren't able to do an official fundraiser at school but we had our friends donate money," NHS member Dabi Swiecki said.

"It's for a good cause so we're raising money," fellow NHS member Sam Shepherd said.

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