Sleep Out Saturday is cold dose of reality for Burr Ridge family
Nancy Bergstrom with her daughters Morgan (left) 14, and Rachel 8, will be participating in an event to raise awareness of homelessness. | James C. Svehla~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:22AM
BURR RIDGE — Corinne McLachlan never had to resort to sleeping in a cardboard box.
But the 28-year-old single mother came close before Bridge Communities came to her rescue.
“I was a Bridge client for a little over 18 months,” said McLachlan.
Thanks to the Glen Ellyn-based organization’s help, McLachlan is back on her feet. She is employed full time at a Burr Ridge company and has a home of her own for herself and her children.
McLachlan will share her story with a group of young people at one of dozens of gatherings expected to take place Nov. 3 as part of Sleep Out Saturday. An estimated 2,000 DuPage residents are expected to spend the night outside, in boxes, in tents and in cars, during the ninth annual countywide event to raise money for and awareness of homelessness in DuPage County.
Morgan Bergstrom, 14, of Burr Ridge looks forward to her annual night spent inside a cardboard house on the lawn outside Hinsdale United Methodist Church, 55th and Garfield. But the Hinsdale South freshman said Sleep Out Saturday also serves as a harsh reminder of what it would be like to have no other choice.
“You don’t realize how cold it is until you do it yourself,” she said.
Nancy Bergstrom, Morgan’s mom, will sleep nearby in a tent filled with blankets and coats to fend off the autumn chill.
“We have a lot more than a homeless person would have, and it’s still awful,” said Bergstrom, who this year will introduce her younger daughter, Rachel, 8, to Sleep Out Saturday. “Other people are living this every day.”
Bergstrom, like the rest of the participants from United Methodist, believes Sleep Out Saturday is an important reminder to those participating and to those driving by the church’s makeshift cardboard village.
After a simple dinner prepared by the women of United Methodist, participants will attend the Sleep Out rally in Glen Ellyn before returning to spend the night on the church lawn.
In addition to raising awareness, participants will raise money for Bridge Communities by collecting pledges. Last year’s Sleep Out event raised more than $130,000 for Bridge Communities’ Transitional Housing Program, which serves more than 100 families annually. One of those families was McLachlan’s.
“Homelessness is not just the guy sitting on the corner in downtown Chicago. It was me and my kids,” she said. “It’s people in your community.”
For more information on Sleep Out Saturday, to participate, or to sponsor a “sleeper,” call (630) 545-0610 or visit www.SleepOutSaturday.org. ~.