Northern Michigan’s cold winter season is just around the corner, which means hundreds of area families will face challenges making ends meet during the home heating season.
The fifth annual Sleep Out to raise awareness and monetary donations for home heating assistance needs in Northwest Michigan returns November 4 to the Grand Traverse County Civic Center in Traverse City. It begins at 4:30 p.m. and continues through the night. It’s co-sponsored by the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.
“While Northern Michigan is a great place to live and raise a family, our cold winters can really stretch a household’s resources and create difficult and even dangerous living conditions,” Chamber Executive Director Laura Oblinger said. “The Sleep Out offers an opportunity to help local families and individuals keep their homes safe and livable over the winter.”
This year students from Northwestern Michigan College are joining the effort to raise sponsor donations for 10 camping spots. To sponsor one of their tents or those of our other special guests, contact NMCAA’s Kevin Bavers at (231) 947-3780. Participation opportunities include:
- Firestarter ($1,084) – Bring a logoed tent or support one of the guest campers and have your logo displayed on their tent and receive formal recognition at the event and in media communication. Includes camping for up to five people. (Provides emergency heating reconnect assistance this winter for one family)
- Camper ($271) – Bring a tent for up to 5 people. (Provides one month of utility assistance this winter for one family)
- Absentee ($271) – Sponsor one of our guest campers and have your logo placed on their tent. (Provides a month of heating assistance this winter for one family)
If you’re not interested in camping out but would still like to help, you can visit the event’s Crowd Sourcing page at www.mncaa.net/sleepout.asp
Community members scheduled or invited to participate include:
- Cmdr. Gregory Matyas – U.S. Coast Guard
- Chief Pat Parker – GT Metro Fire Department
- Kristine Erickson – GT County Parks and Recreation
- Prof. Brandon Everest – Northwestern Michigan College
- Kent Wood – Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce
- Steve Rawlings – Regional Manager for DTE Energy
- Doug DeYoung – Area Manager for Consumers Energy
- John Stephenson – Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency
- Kevin Bavers – Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency
- Tony Anderson – General Manager of Cherryland Electric Cooperative
- Steve Wade – Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation
- Mike Hill – Superintendent of TBA Intermediate School District
- Joe Charlevoix – TV 7&4
- Rick Coates & “Omelette” – WKLT
Those not camping but interested in showing their support are invited between 5- 9 p.m. to join the conversation with community leaders and enjoy a warm beverage.
The Traverse City Area Chamber helped launch the initiative with NMCAA five years ago to support and promote various public and private energy assistance and efficiency programs and help those eligible to access critical services.