SHIPPENSBURG — A group of students from Shippensburg University will sleep in cardboard boxes for one night next week to raise public awareness about homelessness.
“Homeless for a Night” will be from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday on the academic quad at Shippensburg University. Participants will collect donations of money, food and clothing, which will be given to Safe Harbour, a not-for-profit organization in Carlisle that provides housing services for homeless individuals and families in Cumberland County.
“Homelessness is an international issue,” said Brittani Procknow, one of the event organizers. “We think it’s an important issue that people need to know about.”
“Homeless for a Night” is similar to Safe Harbour’s annual “One Night Without a Home.” That event is held each November during National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week.
Procknow said she and other social work majors from Margarita Flagler’s Practice with Organizations and Communities class worked with Safe Harbour staff to “create an event that is similar to their event, but also unique to Shippensburg University.”
Procknow said cardboard boxes will be provided for participants to use as makeshift homes. There will also be free food and hot beverages, guest speakers, entertainment and a documentary about homelessness.
Participants should bring their own coats and blankets, as well as materials like newspaper and duct tape, to use in the construction of cardboard homes.
The event is open to students, faculty and staff from the university, as well as the community.
Procknow said she is hoping for a turnout of 100 people.
“We’ve contacted a lot of organizations on campus, but we’re trying to get the Shippensburg community involved for a bigger impact,” she said. “We need as much support as possible.”
Procknow said she hopes the experience will inspire people to volunteer at homeless shelters in the area.
To participate in “Homeless for a Night,” individuals and organizations should email Procknow at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Safe Harbour at 249-2200. Adult chaperones must accompany participants younger than age 18. Safe Harbour recommends one chaperone for every eight students.
In case of rain, the event will be from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in the multipurpose room at the Ceddia Union Building.
“Homelessness is real,” Procknow said. “People can be outside in the cold on any given night. We want people to be aware that it’s not easy for them. They need help from people in the community. It could happen to anyone.”
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