Box City reveals homeless problem in BG

Kelly Metz and Kelly Metz

Box City, an annual event sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, will take place at Mac Beach tomorrow to raise local awareness of homelessness and poverty.

The event cost $5 and students and community members are welcome to an unlimited amount of boxes in which they can build a creative house to sleep in for the night.

A box judging will be held tomorrow where Habitat for Humanity members view each house and give prizes to the best and most creative. In the past, box trailers, box mansions, tunnel houses, tents and teepees have all been made out of the boxes.

Food will be provided from local businesses and BG Radio will be supplying music and many games such as cornhole, hillbilly golf, frisbee and football will be played throughout the night.

This year, a Habitat Homeowner will come speak to give a first-hand account of how Habitat has helped them and how important it is to spread awareness on poverty, even in such a small area as Wood or Lucas County, Habitat President Diane Schwab said.

Schwab, senior, hopes Box City will give participants an idea and a fresh perspective on what being homeless is like, while having a little fun.

‘Box City is sponsored by Habitat to raise awareness and to assimilate homelessness by living in boxes,’ she said. ‘Our hopes are people will actually know we are raising awareness on homelessness, but having fun while doing so.’

Some participants, such as senior Daniel Richardson, don’t only attend to support Habitat and it’s overall cause, but also for the friendly competition and spending time with friends.

‘I’ve attended for two years now and it’s like a sleepover in a box,’ Richardson said.

Richardson does not believe the purpose of the event is to simulate everything a homeless person would have to go through, especially since homelessness is usually associated with suffering.

‘The basic principle to me is to know what it’s like to not have a home,’ he said. ‘You’re not supposed to suffer, if that was the purpose of the event, I don’t see why people would attend.’

Other participants, such as Terry Streetman, senior, hopes many people will come despite what the weather has in store for the weekend.

‘I’ve been going for four years now because it’s a good cause, it’s a lot of fun, and it brings attention to a serious issue,’ he said. ‘Attendance really depends on the weather but in the past, people have survived 25 degree weather, so it should be okay.’

Schwab also hopes the weather will work in their favor for assimilating homelessness.

‘Even though we’re scared by the weather and nervous about the turnout, we hope people will still bring out their sleeping bags and have a good time,’ Schwab said.

Amy Coyle, Box City chair said the event isn’t limited to University students.

‘People who have attended in the past usually bring their friends, even if they don’t go here. It’s a great event to raise awareness from another viewpoint and seeing the cause from a new perspective,’ she said.

The whole event will start tomorrow at 3 p.m. and continue until 9 a.m. on Sunday at Mac Beach. Students can pay in cash or check at the event or at the tables in the Union with a BG1 card up until the event starts.