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Kids learn what it feels like to live like homeless
Lawrence Peverni comes out from under the box he was preparing to spend the night in Friday. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Being a part of the Kid in a Box event three years ago left a lasting impression on Lawrence Peverini.

While he just returned home for the summer from college in Sunnyvale, Peverini still took the time to decorate a box in the spirit of the video game Metal Gear Solid and prepare himself to spend Friday night shielded from the elements by only cardboard.

The lessons he learned the first time, he said, will stick with him.

“I learned that it’s not always this easy – just finding a box and having a place to sleep for the night,” Peverini said. “There are a lot of people out there that don’t have the luxury of housing, and this is something that’s supposed to remind people of that.”

Roughly a dozen kids hurried around the yard of Raymus House on Union Road Friday night as they geared up for the HOPE Ministries annual fundraiser that serves a dual purpose as an awareness tool – showing both the kids involved with the event that it isn’t easy being without a place to stay and the community as a whole that there’s a need that exists.

The Boys and Girls Club Torch Club – a leadership program that caters to youth ages 11-13 – sent five of their members to the event to spend the night in a Skittles-themed box that took about a week to assemble.

According to first-time event attendee and Torch Club Vice President Amancio Rosas, the group hopes to gain some insight into the world of the less fortunate.

“I hope to learn a little bit about what it’s like to have to sleep outside for a night and homelessness in general,” Rosas said. “It’s a good event for our organization to do together.”

While the number of boxes that filled the yard might not have been as high as in years past, the number of people staying in the shelter remains constant. Each of the rooms that HOPE Ministries has available is full and the organization receives multiple calls every single day from people throughout the area looking for housing.

Kid in a Box, said HOPE Ministries Executive Director Dave Thompson, is something that the organization hopes opens the eyes of some people in the community who might not realize that a lot of people that they serve are there not by choice, but by situation.

“So many people don’t realize how many paychecks they are away from being out on the street themselves,” Thompson said. “These people don’t want to be here – they didn’t ask to be homeless and in a lot of cases they did everything they could to avoid being here.

“And if we don’t take care of them, then who will? Taking care of the less fortunate is just what you’re supposed to do, and hopefully these kids take that away from this.”

For more information about HOPE Ministries or how to support their efforts in the community, contact their office at 824-0658.