Cardboard Box City provides support for the homeless

Patrick Fisher, New Prague Times

Father Kevin Clinton, center, offers a blessing the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 20, to the seventh and eighth grades students from St. Wenceslaus Catholic School participating in Cardboard Box City. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

The seventh and eighth grade students from St. Wenceslaus Catholic School had a chilly night Wednesday, Dec. 20, and going into the morning of Thursday, Dec. 21, as they slept in cardboard boxes with temperatures at 18 degrees Fahrenheit. The experience was part of Cardboard Box City, where students learned and raised awareness about homelessness. Students began assembling boxes between 2:45-4 p.m. on December 20, some taped together boxes to make them bigger as some shared their temporary homes with one to two friends. Others were putting plastic or tarps on the inside of the boxes to try and keep out the cold, others were using styrofoam for insulation. Many were going to be wearing extra clothing.
The students used blankets and sleeping bags in the boxes, which were put on the front lawn of the school. Adults kept an eye on the students through the night in case anyone needed to come inside the school. Several of the boxes had messages about helping the homeless. Father Kevin Clinton of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church offered a blessing. He noted that it was a blessing for a home, since the boxes were to be their homes for the night. “We’ll be spending time with friends and supporting the homeless,” said Grace Langfield, one of the students who participated. “It makes me appreciate what I have and don’t take it for granted.” Many like Peyton Plaisance had older siblings who participated in Cardboard Box City. He said his brother was the only one of his group to get sick. Plaisance’s brother was able to get six hours of sleep in -5 degrees fahrenheit. Leah Zvanovec of St. Wenceslaus School said after the blessing the students had a simple meal of soup and sandwiches. A guest speaker spoke to the students about the difficulties of homelessness and youth homelessness in particular. “We broke them into small groups with a variety of activities and speakers on homeless issues,” said Zvanovec.
This ranged from packing hygiene kits to be donated to the CAP agency in Shakopee to homeless stereotypes to simulations showing how people end up homeless or living in the margins. “Many students think of homeless people as those who are begging on the streets of Minneapolis, but eyes have been opened to the fact that homeless people are around us here in New Prague, as well as the counties around us,” said Zvanovec. “This is not just an inner city problem. We also focused on the difficulties of families who are experiencing homelessness and how they can be helped.”
The students asked for donations.....
To see more on this story pick up the December 28, 2017 print edition.



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