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CCAR Members Spend One Winter Night Outside to Raise Funds to Help Homeless

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is partnering with C-U at Home to raise awareness and funds to help the homeless in the Champaign County area. On February 2nd, members of CCAR participated in the One Winter Night Program to raise donations for C-U at Home, a community organization based in Champaign that works to provide shelter and assistance to the homeless.  Volunteers with the One Winter Night program spent the entire night, 12 hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., outside in a cardboard refrigerator box in frigid temperatures that dipped to a low of 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each box dweller was also asked to help raise at least $1,000 as part of their experience. CCAR REALTORS® who spent the night outside in the extreme cold on that one winter night included: Trey Coffey, Carol Meinhart Hickey, Natalie Gross, Bill Utnage and affiliate member Butch Dalhaus. REALTORS® Amy Pellum, Eric and Davonne Porter were also volunteers at the event. To date in total, they have raised $10,594.19 for C-U At Home. CCAR and the CCAR YPN Network also made contributions to the One Winter Night program.  Rob Dalhaus, Executive Director of C-U at Home, and Bailie Porter, Communications Manager, were guest speakers at the CCAR membership luncheon on January 25th discussing the organization’s mission. CCAR members made contributions at the luncheon or to those individuals who had agreed to be box dwellers for the One Winter Night program through their contribution page.

This is the seventh year for the One Winter Night Program. For Carol Meinhart Hickey this is her fifth year participating in the event. “It does enlighten you seeing the need in our community. There are homeless people out there who don’t have anywhere to go and this program is a way to help them. It is hard to imagine yourself in that cold bitter air all night every night. That is a harsh reality,” said Meinhart Hickey. “Anything we can do to create housing and shelter for these individuals in our community is a step in the right direction.”

REALTOR® Bill Utnage was a top fundraiser among REALTORS® for One Winter Night and this was the first year he actually slept outdoors as a volunteer. “It was a very humbling experience. I am laying there in the middle of the night in a cardboard box knowing in just a few hours I will be going home to a hot shower and meal and all other luxuries I am blessed with in my home. At the same time, I am thinking the people on the streets are repeating groundhog day each day; they are worrying about shelter each and every night and where they are getting their next meal,” said Utnage. “For this program it is not just about raising money but provides an experience to step into someone else’s shoes and see from their perspective what life is like on the streets. As REALTORS® our job is assisting individuals get into homes and help them fulfill the American dream of owning a home. CU at Home has a goal of how do we get people off the street and into permanent housing.”   

CCAR REALTORS® joined close to 250 volunteers who camped out along Neil Street in downtown Champaign on Feb. 2nd for One Winter Night. So far, $148,684 collectively has been raised by all participants and others who donated funds to the cause.

Donations can still be made at: until February 15th.

Throughout the year, C-U at Home runs the Phoenix Daytime Drop-In Center, transitional housing, street outreach, transportation ministry and other education and advocacy programs.

“This is just the start of what we hope will be a long-term relationship with C-U at Home and aiding the homeless in our community,” said Max McComb, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.
Thursday, February 8, 2018/Categories: News Releases