Lycoming College, American Rescue Workers and First Church joined together to host its' first BOX CITY fundraiser for Saving Grace Shelter recently.
Approximately 40 people gathered on the intramural field at Lycoming College to sleep out in a box overnight. Participants paid a registration fee and raised pledges to become a citizen of BOX CITY 2013, in an effort to raise operating expenses for the shelter and also raise awareness for homelessness in Williamsport and Lycoming County.
BOX CITY wasn't just a fundraiser, it was a night of fun. Contributions of pizza, snacks, hot tea, coffee and hot chocolate provided participants some relief from the cold, wind and early rain.
Entertainment was provided and a student built an enclosed cardboard house on campus and decorated it with Christmas lights, photos that depict the harsh realities of homelessness and statistics, which surprised most viewers.
The house was opened for tours and with an admission fee, $103 was raised. The Men's Mania group from First Church provided a tent where participants could go during the night to get warmed up. Lycoming College provided security throughout the evening.
BOX CITY dwellers built their houses out of cardboard. Some used donated paint to seal the exterior from the rain. Participants adding pop-up tents, decorations, Chinese lanterns and tarps to keep out the rain. Sponsors of the event were advertised on the side of the boxes and an amount of more than $11,410 was raised.
In 2011, Saving Grace Shelter opened its doors on Valentine's Day to provide homeless veterans and families with 14 days of emergency shelter. The first year Saving Grace sheltered 227 homeless individuals, 50 of whom were children ranging in ages up to 18 years old.
In 2012 those numbers doubled to 450 homeless participants, 100 of whom were children.