Sometimes the best way to confront a community problem is to put people in uncomfortable situations. Hopefully, they will walk away with a sense of compassion, their generosity spurred and their ability to help others put into action.
On October 1, the ground will be cold and damp and the air will be crisp. The open spaces of Bridgeport Park will provide a sleeping spot for hundreds of youth and adults from our community, who for one night, willingly trade their comfy beds at home for a unique opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the homeless.
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Family Promise of SCV is asking local youth and community members to once again be a part of the Box City experience which will take place this year at Bridgeport Park on from Saturday night into early Sunday morning.
Last year more than 220 residents camped out at Box City and an additional 150 attended during the evening, helping to raise more than $25,000. Many people who stayed overnight discussed their appreciation of the event.
“We had Box City residents filled out feedback forms last year and many indicated that sleeping overnight in a box really transformed their thoughts about the homeless,” said Larry Comp, President of Family Promise of SCV. “Students especially were bewildered to think that others their own age in the SCV are homeless. All were thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something meaningful that could transform the lives of homeless families in our very own community.”
All funds raised will benefit Family Promise of SCV, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing homeless families with interim shelter and support services with the goal of transitioning the families into permanent housing. Family Promise provides comprehensive assistance for families in a manner that offers hope, preserves dignity, and promotes self-sufficiency.
Currently, Family Promise of SCV has gathered a network of over 25 diverse local faith congregations committed to reducing family homelessness in the SCV. Since the organization opened its doors in July, the staff and volunteers have begun working with three local homeless families. All funds raised at Family Promise’s Box City 2011 will aid the organization in helping these families and more families in the future.
At Box City, participants of all ages and backgrounds will eat a modest homeless shelter-style meal and a light breakfast will also be provided on Sunday morning. The evening will include entertainment, a box decoration contest, games, live music and other community building activities.
Prospective residents pay or raise pledges of $100 or more for the experience of staying over night in Box City. Registration forms and details can be found on the new Box City website at www.scvboxcity.org. Sponsorships also offer an opportunity for local businesses to get involved in Box City.