Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cardboard Box City

Last year I heard about an interfaith organization that helps homeless families get back into homes. They have a high turn over rate, meaning that the families do not stay homeless for long. I learned more about it and wanted to see how I could help. We donated some hygiene items, I believe, from my work since my boss was friends with one of the organization's leaders. They have many different host congregations who open their doors in the evening every night, each for a week, so that families can have a safe place to sleep. The church members provide pot luck dinners that week as well. I like how it involves the community and families and uses resources we already have. I was not about to be the chair person for my congregation to do that but asked how else I could personally help. My new friend, Debi, told me about the upcoming Cardboard Box City and told me that many families and youth groups go and sleep in cardboard boxes to raise money and awareness to the problem right here in Pinellas County. I had a 5 month old baby girl, so was not interested in camping myself, but I sponsored a box for my boss who camped with her husband and three small children. They decorated the box I sponsored with my Fishy Face Photography logo, so cute!
This year, I decided to do it myself. My kids love sleeping in odd places and camping, so why not! I called around and got boxes from Shawn and Shawn moving company for free, they delivered them right to my home! They were doing the cardboard box city as a family too.
So I needed to get sponsors. Instead of asking for sponsors for the full $50, I asked friends and business owners to co-sponsor boxes for $25 if they wanted. I raised a lot of money! I co-sponsored one box too. The day before I drew the logos on the boxes then the day of, at nap time, I painted most of them. Then we were on our way! No time for a nap after car line, Tyler.
I also said I'd be the photographer but then realized it was Dylan and Isaac's last soccer game, where Steven and Darren would be passing out awards. So, we went, set up, left to go win the soccer game, then came back, took photos of the boxes, ate a soup kitchen dinner of soup and a brown paper bag w/ a sandwich, watched the homeless movie with Will Smith, The Pursuit Of Happiness on a big blow up screen, and tried to sleep. 
Here we are with our boxes, right before the soccer win (they were undefeated.) 
I raised over $300, thanks to my sponsors, 
Eirit with Iris Jewels
Darren and Corrie Crew with Planks

Myself with Fishy Face Photography, 
Sarah Tryban with It Works!,

My boss with Creating Smiles Dental,

Kathy Goodner with Bay Area Gear Repair, 
My friend Shannon McNeil, who actually didn't want to be mentioned and her husband's office didn't officially want to be named, but I put their name on anyway, Bayview OB/GYN,
My friend Jill Petty with Lu La Roe clothing also came through, 
and my parents also donated as did my friend Marina! Isn't that cool! The sponsors didn't even fit on one side of our 4 boxes. Each box was supposed to be $50 but ours were more :)

The view from the walk back from the bathrooms, they had activities while we were at soccer.

Lights weren't out until like 10:30, after the movie. We were tired.
We set up our boxes like spokes on a tire or in a star formation. We didn't use any tape, just folded a flap in to hold them open. We placed a big cardboard over the middle section and Tyler slept in there once we scooted the boxes in a little more. We propped other boxes on top too so the dew wouldn't ruin our homes.

Julia and I shared a box. It was tight quarters! At one point I woke up realizing my pain in my dream was just my hip bone jabbing into the cardboard box under me, not soft!

I tried taking a selfie but my camera was on square. So squished.
In the morning, we woke up before the sunshine. Steven was ready to go home b/c of all of the ants. The ants were in and on everything/one! We packed up everything then dumped/slid Tyler out then Julia.

She woke up happy, bright eyed and bushy haired. We had donuts for breakfast.
Thanks to our sponsors and to other sponsors too!!!

This guy was set up so perfectly and sat right here the whole evening, watching the movie from afar.
Others decorated boxes in various ways.
I liked this set up the girl scouts had.
All packed up and ready to go!

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