WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- It has been nine nights of living in a van and counting.
Veronica Horton is braving the chilly days and nights in Wheaton to help raise funds for homeless families.
"I'm doing it for those families. I'm doing it for those kids," Horton said. "It really is exhausting. It's tiring when you're living out of your car."
Horton is partnering with Bridge Communities, joining a 19-year tradition to raise money. Over the last nine days, more than $9,500 has been donated, with a goal of $35,000 by Friday.
Horton was once homeless herself 13 years ago and felt she had to give back.
"This money will go towards helping to support the families when they come into bridge. They're not just giving housing. They're giving programming, and with that, it's employment, it's children's services, it's nutrition," Horton said.
Friday night offered a true first taste of winter with overnight lows in the twenties.
"It was chilly. I bundled up I had my hat and lots of blankets," Horton said.
Horton said she's thankful for the resources she has now to stay warm and stay fed. It's an act of courage that's brought things full circle for a woman who was once desperate for these resources she's raising money for.
"I expected it to be lonely at times, and it has been. It serves as a lot of self-reflection," Horton said. "This was good for my heart. It's good for my soul."
If you would like to donate, visit the Bridge Communities website.