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Kids plan to sleep in boxes to benefit homeless

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POSTED April 28, 2009 2:17 a.m.
By JASON CAMPBELL  
Staff reporter of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Dave Thompson loves it when he gets the chance to see ‘Kids in a Box.’
Every year HOPE Ministries organizes the overnight event being held at the Raymus House where students from around Manteca Unified show up for an evening of festivities before retiring to the cardboard box that they brought for the night.
This year they’ll be welcoming in students and kids on May 15 right after school for the overnight festivities.
It’s an event, Thompson says, that gives young kids a glimpse into what homeless people have to go through every day and also raises awareness in the community about the homeless problem that has increased with the number of foreclosures in recent months.
“We really emphasize in our interaction with them that what they’re doing is really helping families in need,” Thompson said – noting that each of the kids participating received pledges from friends and family members that go towards the operating budget of the shelter. “This isn’t our biggest fundraising event of the year, but it brings the impact of homeless to the community.”
All of the food that will be served will be donated – meaning that all of the money received in pledges will go straight into the coffers that are used to pay for overhead expenses like electricity and water as well as items that are used daily in the shelters. Food is also included.
While the amount raised every varies depending on the number of kids involved (Thompson expects somewhere between 50 and 65 this year) the pot has been as high as $14,000 – enough to operate the three shelters here in Manteca that HOPE Ministries oversees for a month.
The average over the course of the long-running fundraiser and public awareness event is somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000.
In a time when state money that was available for homeless shelters has been eliminated completely, filling the gap that leaves falls onto churches, community service groups, and generous residents that are willing to lend a hand.
“We couldn’t even begin to operate without the help of the community,” Thompson said. “The people of Manteca are really what keep that shelter open, and for that we’re extremely grateful.”
Kids in a Box is scheduled to take place on May 15 with the first campers expected to trickle in at around 3 p.m. For more information, contact the Raymus House office at 824-0658.
To contact Jason Campbell, e-mail jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com, or call (209) 249-3544.

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