More than 600 community residents representing all walks of life joined together for the Lord’s Place 11th annual SleepOut April 6. The event, held at the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches, included an inspiring program of word and song celebrating the success stories of men, women and families who have worked their way out of homelessness through the Lord’s Place.
During the program Lord’s Place CEO Diana Stanley announced that more than 900 contributions from nearly 50 teams had helped the agency surpass its SleepOut fundraising goal of $300,000 for a total of $311,000. At that moment, Board Member Ann Brown stepped onto the stage to make the surprise announcement that she and her husband Don Brown would match that amount. It wasn’t the first time this couple had made such an impact.
“Last year at the Lord’s Place SleepOut, I stood up and announced that my husband and I would match every penny that was raised that night. Again this year we were so taken by all the people attending — all races and creeds, rich and poor, old and young, the chronically homeless, the unemployed and the highly successful — all laughing and crying and applauding together: a true cross-section of life itself,” Brown said. “Don and I could not resist, as we felt all those same emotions once again. So again, I stood up and, with great joy, announced that we would match the $311,000 that had been raised.”
The program came to a close with the audience participating in a candlelight ceremony to commit themselves to helping break the cycle of homelessness. Following the program, hundreds slept out overnight.
“We are so grateful for every one of the more than 900 individual donors, and our generous sponsors, who all helped us meet and exceed our SleepOut goal this year,” Stanley said. “We aren’t all in a position to make a major gift as the Browns have so generously done, but it is heartening to know that so many care about the less fortunate among us and give what they can.”
Visit www.thelordsplace.org to learn more.