Sleeping Outside in the Cold

Last night was our first bout of cold weather in the North Texas area, and with an overnight freeze warning. I chose to sleep outside. I’d like to say I slept outside as one of my social experiments to try and help people in some way. No, this time it was to test out my fancy new camping equipment. Every year, around Thanksgiving, I’m collecting coats, blankets, and other warm items for the homeless through Project Warm Us. This year, I have an opportunity to hike the South Rim in Big Bend for Thanksgiving, and #OptOutside. It’s been a busy year and the idea of getting away for a few days is very appealing.

I feel like I’ve spent a small fortune on hiking equipment, most of the expense for sleeping items to stay warm. A new tent, a 20 degree sleeping bag that compresses to the size of my cat, and a sleeping pad with an R rating of 5.7 to keep me warm.

PSA: if you try out your new tent and sleeping stuff, don’t do it on a hill. It was like sleeping on a Slip-n-Slide.

It is morning now, and I stayed warm all night. Even though I was warm, I couldn’t help but think of the awful reality of the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in this cold weather, and it’s not by choice. The shelters fill up quickly when the weather turns cold. I can’t even imagine sleeping freezing temperatures without my fancy gear. There are literally thousands of homeless men, women, and children that have to sleep outside. Yes, I did say children. Suburban homelessness usually means they’re sleeping in their vehicles.I would still consider that outside, as you can’t leave the car running all night. The inner city homeless people are under overpasses and in the woods.

Many of our homeless friends are dependent upon people and organizations to donate warm items. That’s why Project Warm Us exists. We collect warm items for the homeless to be distributed through OurCalling throughout the cold months, with a large Thanksgiving Day distribution. Whether it’s giving from your excess, collecting from your friends, or buying new items, please consider giving at least one warm item. If everyone did for one what they wish they could do for everyone (Andy Stanley quote), the homeless would be warmer and the world would be a better place. (We’re always needing more men’s large and extra large coats.)

Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. – Andy Stanley

When you go outside over the next few days, or anytime it’s cold, please be grateful for the warm house, warm clothing, and warm meals you have. Please also consider helping at least one person this winter by donating a warm item. One person really can make a difference.