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Sleeping Out to Help the Homeless

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/ FOX 28)--Setting up her home for the night, 17-year-old Bailey Rickels wants to put herself in someone elses shoes or more like someone elses box.
This will be something very new to me, not used to sleeping anywhere other than a bed, Rickels said.
She and dozens of others are camping out on the cold, hard floor of Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday night until 6am Sunday as part of this years Sleep Out for the Homeless.
Everyday summer, winter, spring, fall, people are out there on the streets living, Rickels said. Sometimes not even with a box.
Organizers say the goal of the event is to continue shedding light on the growing problem of homelessness in Iowa. Last year, 5,000 people were considered homeless in Linn County alone.
This is our goal to beat the homelessness, said Sleep Out co-chairman Brian Gradoville. Its a tough battle because youre getting more and more people that are put in situations that are sometimes out of their control.
Along with raising awareness, organizers are also raising money which will go to nine local sheltersalready struggling to meet the overwhelming need.
Its getting harder and harder to make their ends meet too because of the rise in the number of people needing assistance, Gradoville said.
Some parents like Annette Lorenz say theyre using the sleep out as a teaching moment.
Hes already been working on his Christmas list, Lorenz said of her son John who helped her build their box for the event.
Im kind of hoping that this maybe makes him more appreciative of what he has, she said. The small simple things that we take for granted every single day.
Things Bailey says are much bigger than a cardboard box.
Its raising awareness that this is a real issue for some people, Rickels said.
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