Sleeping Bag Coats for the Homeless


"... they look at me
as if i were a bum,
but what I am
is a mothers son,
look hard enough
and you will see,
I could be you,
you could be me"

My friend Robinson Elsdale and I are working hard to raise money to buy and hand out sleeping bags to Chicago's homeless this holiday season.  


We started this campaign to solicit donations. While we are working on finding a corporate sponsor/partner to provide the bags at a discount, the more money we can raise, the more bags we can buy, and the more we can give away. We want to encourage you to participate and to share in this experience: to give back and provide a bit warmth and assistance, as well as kindness and dignity, to our homeless population here in Chicago, as the city grows darker and colder and more lonely. 

Last year, instead of organizing a campaign soliciting contributions and rallying friends and family, we, on our own, bought and distributed over 100 pairs of gloves, hats and socks, during the holidays, just driving around town, really warm ones (Heat Warmers). The response was inspring and touching, and sad at the same time, to see how many people are in need, living on the edge of subsistence, forgotten or neglected. The previous year  we delivered over 200 meals in less than 45 mins.; I was amazed at how many meals we were able to give away in such a short time by just driving around town.

You would be horrified and saddened to see how many people are living on lower Wacker, or underneath bridges and overpasses, in tents or cardboard boxes, using newspaper and plastic bags to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures, with little human contact or kindness. How many people society has forgotten, or forsaken. For both of us, these experiences were life-changing and eye-opening, as well as impactful and rewarding. So this year we want to do more, and more importantly, we want to share this feeling and experience with each and everyone of you. 

This time it's about bringing people together, friends, family, and even complete strangers, to help those in need, and to show how, together, we can make a difference. 

If this sounds like something for you, we would love for you to be involved in some way, in whatever way feels right - if you want to help hand out bags, then join us, and/or if you want to send us a contribution, thank you. Every bit helps. As we said before, the more money we raise, the more warm bags we can buy, and for a better price, enabling us to give more away. 

Please give it some thought, contribute, and find a way to share in this experience. 

This Holiday season take a ham or turkey and stuff it fat, take some of this and some of that. But don't forgot those in need, those you can comfort, clothe, or feed. Kiss and hug those who are near, friends and family, and those who are dear. But take a moment and give some thought, to the life you have, one not filled with fraught. Think of the souls that live on the edge, between the gutter or steps from the ledge. Frozen tears, on wind-cracked cheeks, frost bitten ears, and shoes that leak. The concrete is hard, and the wind is cold, is what they ask much, to be consoled. Loneliness and sorrow in a cardboard box, I chose to ignore you, as I walked between shops. I didn't see you today, I looked away, keeping to myself the thoughts I should convey. Quietly you stand, sign in hand, something changed... I finally understand.
            - Dan Chester


  • Joan Binkow
    • $100 
    • 7 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Dan Chester
Chicago, IL
Erika George

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