TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.– November nights are cold in Northern Michigan, and offer a stark reminder of the challenges faced by thousands of Michigan families struggling to heat and power their homes over the winter.
A group of local business and community leaders will gather again on Monday, Nov. 4, for a third annual “Sleep Out” to raise awareness and monetary donations for home heating assistance needs in the state and region. It begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Plante Moran building at 600 E. Front St. and continues through the night.
“This event not only brings attention to the heating needs of vulnerable households and the help available to them through the winter season, but it demonstrates loud and clear the extraordinary depth of caring that is so prevalent in our community,” said John Stephenson, executive director of the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency who’s among the Sleep Out participants.
Other community members scheduled to participate include:
- Steve Rawlings, Regional Manager for DTE Energy.
- Tony Anderson, General Manager for Cherryland Electric Cooperative.
- Tim Arends, Executive Director of Traverse City Light & Power Co.
- Doug DeYoung, Public Affairs Area Manager for Consumers Energy.
- Steve Cousins, Superintendent for Traverse City Area Public Schools.
- Mike Hill, Superintendent for the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District
- Commander Sean Cross of the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City.
- Matt McCauley, Director of Regional Planning & Community Development for the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments
- Joe Charlevoix, Meteorologist at TV 7&4.
- WKLT-FM morning on-air personality “Omelette.”
The Traverse City Chamber launched the Sleep Out initiative two years ago to support the efforts of the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm, a consortium that raises awareness about the importance of federal and state energy assistance and efficiency programs and helps eligible residents access these critical services. More than $10,000 has been raised during the two previous Sleep Out events.
“Dealing with winter utility costs is an ongoing challenge for many Michigan families,” Traverse City Area Chamber President & CEO Doug Luciani said. “The Sleep Out is intended to raise awareness of this issue and an opportunity for the community to help struggling families and individuals keep their homes livable during the winter months.”
Financial contributions also can be made toward local energy assistance programs including those at the NMCAA, the Father Fred Foundation, the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries. Donations can also be made to the Sleep Out event listing on the Chamber’s website at www.tcchamber.org
More information on the Coalition’s efforts is available at www.coalitiontokeepmichiganwarm