Cardboard Box City: Youth pledge to combat homelessness


When youth from around the state gather at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on October 15, they’ll bring their sleeping bags and toothbrushes – and big cardboard boxes. The cardboard boxes will be their home overnight.

Leslie Frost is executive director of Families Moving Forward [www.familiesmoving], a non-profit that provides emergency shelter to people who are homeless or living in poverty. She said, ” This idea [of a cardboard box city] is becoming more popular as a way for youth groups and individuals to raise money and awareness of homelessness.”

The theme of this year’s event is “Sleep out, Rock out, Knock out homelessness.”

For more information call 612-529-2185 or send an e-mail to Cardboard Box City To register your group for Cardboard Box City 2009 go to Project Home or Families Moving Forward websites.

Cardboard Box City is an ecumenical effort and information was sent to youth groups practicing many different faith traditions. Youth are asked to collect $100 in pledges, with all proceeds going to Families Moving Forward and to Project Home, a family shelter program in St. Paul sponsored by the St. Paul Area Council of Churches.

Last year, the first time the event was held, youth brought in $10,000 in pledges. This year, according to Frost, the hope is to raise $20,000. Frost said that she expects 400 youth to participate this year, along with 80 adult chaperones. While the goal is for each youth to raise $100 in pledge money, Frost said, ” We will not turn any kid away if they can’t raise the $100.”

In solidarity with people who are homeless and have no choice, Cardboard Box City will be held rain or shine. Soup and bread, hot chocolate and coffee and water are provided to the youth. While the primary purpose of the cardboard city is to raise awareness of the many families who are homeless, and to help by raising money, Frost said it is also about having fun.

The band, Sheltered Reality [], led by Iowa pastor, Steve Schloesser, will provide live music. Frost said that local youth join the band and “drum and dance ” to recorded music. She said Schloesser brings a message to the kids, ” Do the best you can, take on new projects, do whatever you can.”