Helping Works

Camp out on a cot to bring awareness to homelessness

We are all familiar with the expression: to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

It’s about not passing judgment, but instead practicing empathy.

And understanding often comes easier when you put yourself in a similar situation. The result can be quite humbling.

In hopes of bringing a more sympathetic point of view to homelessness in the Treasure Valley, Boise Rescue Mission Ministries is sponsoring a “Sleepless in the Valley” event on Friday-Saturday, June 14-15, at the Meridian Speedway, 335 S. Main St.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in the overnight sleep out to learn about and bring awareness to homelessness and be inspired to turn “compassion into action.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. Friday, June 14, with a program starting at 6 p.m., which consists of music and testimonials, followed by dinner.

There will also be a variety family-friendly activities, including games, a volunteer booth, and putting together practical kits for shelter guests.

Cardboard will be provided to construct a shelter over your cot and an award will be given for the best one.

In the evening, take part in a chat circle to discuss homelessness and how to help.

Wake up on Saturday, June 15, with breakfast served at 6 a.m. and a send-off at 7 a.m.

The cost is $30 per person, and includes a t-shirt, dinner and breakfast. Bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.

All ages are welcome. However, those younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

RV parking is $100, and includes admission for one person.

This is a fundraiser for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, which “operates three facilities in Boise and three in Nampa that, together, serve over 1,000 meals a day, provide over 400 shelter beds each night and change hundreds of lives through programs specializing in life skills, addiction treatment, employment and housing.”

To register, learn more or to create a fundraising page, go to

Michelle Jenkins compiles event calendars, archives and writes a Helping Works column for the Idaho Statesman. She attended Boise State University and grew up in New Plymouth, Idaho.