One Winter Night

One Winter Night 2019 | C-U at Home

I’ve had the honor and pleasure of photographing the annual One Winter Night fundraiser to support C-U at Home. This non-profit organization exists to help our friends without an address in the Champaign-Urbana community. Every February, members and leaders of the community raise money and sleep outside on the cold streets of downtown Champaign. The “box dwellers” are given a cardboard appliance box (think refrigerator size) and can bring their own blankets and warming supplies as they choose. There is always a warming center set up which over the last couple years has also transformed into a forum throughout the early part of the evening where you can sit and listen to community leaders talk about homelessness in the area and they also address questions and concerns.

This annual event is intended to raise about 2/3 of the annual budget for C-U at Home, and most times they are able to make their goal! This year the goal was $250,000 and about a week after the event, they surpassed that number! C-U at Home helps with transportation to rehabilitation centers and they offer a daytime drop-in center where those without an address can shower, use computers to apply for jobs, and build friendships. The organization has also helped several people get off the streets and into homes of their own.

To get involved in the 2020 One Winter Night event, contact C-U at Home.

One Winter Night | C-U at Home annual fundraiser

Each February for the past several years, I've spent a couple hours out photographing the One Winter Night fundraising event for C-U at Home, an organization that helps those in our community without an address.  The event's mission is two-fold -- it raises awareness for homelessness in our community, and it raises money for the organization.  "Box dwellers" sleep out in cardboard boxes for the night along a few blocks in downtown Champaign. The past few years speakers ranging from law enforcement to former beneficiaries of the organization to community leaders come into the headquarters and talk to the community. They've also shown the Phoenix: Hope is Rising film throughout the night in one of the warming centers.  C-U at Home is continually accepting donations securely online.

CU at Home's One Winter Night


This year's CU @ Home "One Winter Night" event raised more than $220,000 for the organization that strives to help our friends without an address.  More than 200 "box dwellers" slept outside on a cold February night to raise money for the organization and awareness about homelessness. In the event's headquarters, there were speakers scheduled all evening, a snack/warming station for the box dwellers, and a new addition this year -- a children's corner with storytelling and crafts. At a separate location, there were also regular showings of the documentary "The Phoenix: Hope is Rising" all throughout the night. Since the very first One Winter Night several years ago, I have volunteered as a photographer for the event and today I'm sharing my favorite photos from the 2017 event. spreading the word about homelessness for our friends without an address volunteers holding donation signs one winter night community event box dwellers sleeping outside in February volunteers sleeping in cardboard boxes in downtown Champaign volunteers eat sack lunches at One Winter Night