Springfield Woman Spends 16 Hours in the Cold

SPRINGFIELD - This may not look like a birthday party.. but it is!

"Today is my birthday!  I'm 48 years old."

Standing in the cold and rain for 16 hours.

"I've been out here since 8 o'clock this morning."

By midnight.. Penny Harris wants raise one hundred dollars for every year she's been alive.

"I decided that I wanted to raise 48 hundred dollars."

But the money isn't going in her pocket.  It's going to the 5th Street Renaissance Center.. one of the largest social service agencies in central Illinois.  Penny is the executive director.

"We have 18 programs that provide services not only here in Springfield, but across the state of Illinois."

18 programs that are struggling to stay alive.

"It's about having to turn people away for services.  It's about not being able to allow staff to work as much as they need to work because the money isn't there."

Thanks to a decrease in state funding.

"We've been falling short since budget cuts started happening 4 or 5 years ago, and they continue to happen every year almost so it's only going to get worse for the social service agencies.

But Penny is refusing to let that stop her agency from helping so many people.

"The work that I do.. the work that all of our staff are committed to.. I am very passionate about it.  It means everything to me."

And if she doesn't raise 48-hundred by midnight.. she has vowed to sleep on the corner.
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