By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN Beginning Halloween night, one may notice something different in front of Retro Roast and Fountain in Loretto.
No, it won’t be a new type of coffee advertised on their sign out front it will be a tent.
The tent will be home to three young men who plan on sleep outdoors while raising funds for Love INC Heartland.
Motivated by their awareness that the need at local food shelves and Love INC has never been greater, they are hoping to make a difference.
Stefano Rosati, of Loretto, and Sawyer Scherer, of Medina, both students at Orono High School, will be joined by Justin Mills, of Loretto, and will be sleeping-out in the cold until they reach their fundraising goal of $3,000.
“We’ll do it as long as it takes,” said Stefano Rosati. “And if we reach our goal quickly, we’ll just raise the amount (they will collect).”
Love Inc. Heartland was formed to empower and transform local communities through the love of Christ by networking the efforts of local churches.
Based in Delano, Love INC provides clothing, linens, food, home repair, school supplies and much more to families in need.
“The help Love INC is being asked for increases with every week that goes by,” said executive director Rev. Terri Harris. “And with temperatures getting colder quickly, help is greatly needed.”
Beginning Oct. 31, the three will set up camp, and free hot chocolate will be served from 9 p.m. to midnight each night until their goal is reached.
Rosati is the son of Bill and Heidi Rosati who own Retro Roast and Fountain. All three of the young men work together at the Loretto business, and thought it was the perfect place for their fundraiser.
“Since I can’t personally give financially to the cause, I thought this was one way I could help,” Mills said.
They will be accepting monetary donations, along with diapers and new bed linens the items in greatest need at Love INC.
Though they will have sleeping bags, heaters, and ways to keep warm, their thoughts will go to those who are not doing this for “fun,” but as a way of life.
Games and music may help them pass time, but Rosati said he will crochet hats to donate as well.
This will also be the tenth year that Rosati has taken part in a Halloween food drive, collecting food items instead of trick or treating, and this year it will serve as a kick off for the sleep-out.
For more information, or to volunteer to help out with the sleep-out at Retro Roast and Fountain, call Stefano Rosati at (763) 479-6146 or Love Inc. at (763) 972-6547.
Delano United Methodist Church also has big sleep-out plans
All community members are invited to take part in the big plans Delano United Methodist Church (DUMC) has for the 2008 Love Inc Sleep-out.
Sleep-out with Pastor Matt Sipe includes a series of events between Oct. 25 and Nov. 25, including:
• Friday, Oct. 31 Halloween happening at 7 p.m. A Halloween party after trick or treating, followed by worship, and sleep-out. Participants may come in costume or come as you are.
• Friday, Nov. 7 Pastor’s pray. Love INC’s partners in ministry have received personal invitations to join DUMC for an evening of prayer and love stories.
• Friday, Nov. 14 Mayor’s challenge. Join Delano Mayor Joe McDonald vs. his father, Watertown Mayor KJ McDonald, for this fundraising event.
• Friday, Nov.. 21 Crazy for Christ. In support of Love INC, one has to be crazy to sleep-out in late November. Pastor Matt Sipe will make sure participants are warm and keep the fires going.
For more information regarding the DUMC Sleep-out with Sipe, contact Jan Johnson at (763) 972-2494.
Sleep out tips
• Encourage friends or family to sleep out with you. Make a party of it, build a campfire, share stories, have a pillow fight.
• Set up tents anywhere, your backyard, a park, church.
• Prepare for the cold. Bring extra blankets.
• Before falling asleep share stories and say a prayer for neighbors in need.
• In the morning take five minutes and ask yourself: What did I learn from this experience? What new insights did I gain about what neighbors in need might go through or be feeling? How does Love INC make a difference in situations like this?
• Ask your friends, family, businesses to donate to Love INC by being your sleepout sponsor. Donations are tax deductible.