Warm against the cold

Volunteers join UAW Acting President’s 5th Sleeping Bag Drive to Help Detroit Homeless

Today, UAW members and Metro Detroit residents flowed into a local Detroit McDonald’s restaurant to show their support and join UAW Acting President Rory Gamble in a community effort to raise money for sleeping bags and winter necessities for homeless residents in the Detroit area.

The fundraiser kicked off with the Bed-in-a-Bag Radiothon, with local radio personality Mildred Gaddis broadcasting live on 105.9 FM. The radiothon included an interview with Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. 

This year’s goal is to raise more than $35,000 and distribute at least 1,000 sleeping bags to beat 2018 totals.

“We are blessed that we have been able to receive such broad support for this effort and it gets better every year,” said Gamble. “This event makes a real difference for people in the community who need these items. We will distribute the bags on Jan. 20, 2020, when teams of volunteers will hit the streets and take the sleeping bags, blankets and other necessities out to where people need them.”

Constance Bobbitt and Tony Braggs of UAW Region 1A Local 163

Gamble has been the leading sponsor of this sleeping bag drive for the homeless for four consecutive years. This year the event is conducted in partnership with the EMG Foundation. The bags are designed to handle temperatures as low as 17 degrees below zero.

“I have only missed one year,” said UAW Local 163 member and Region 1A chaplain Constance Bobbitt. “It makes such a difference when you go out there and hand someone a sleeping bag and they tell you how much they appreciate it. People are thankful and grateful.”

Fellow UAW member Tony Braggs echoed this sentiment.

“This is what we do as UAW members. We give back to the community,” said Braggs, also of UAW Local 163. “This is something that comes natural to me as a chaplain and as a proud UAW member. We give back to those who are homeless or less fortunate. It’s in our DNA.”

To volunteer, or for more information call 313-568-1059. Volunteers who want to help with distribution should plan to dress warmly. Donations toward the purchase of sleeping bags are still being accepted and should be made payable to EMG Foundation and delivered to: The Beasley Group, 1 Radio Plaza St., Ferndale, Michigan, 48220.