Reggie’s Sleepout aims to aid homeless

An estimated 1,000 youths will struggle this year with homelessness in Polk County, but organizers of the annual Reggie’s Sleepout hope their efforts help decrease that number.

The event, held at Drake Stadium, is named after Reggie Kelsey, a former foster child whose body was found in the Des Moines River shortly after he aged out of the system in 2001.

The annual sleepout raises awareness and money to support several efforts of the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, including street outreach, transitional housing, and education and employment programs. Although attendees will face a November night outdoors on the stadium field, organizers have a reputation for making the event fun and appealing for groups of all ages, said Jen Hampel, chairwoman of this year’s event.

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