by Josh Sandin
Posted on 10/26/2011
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FORT DODGE - This Friday nearly 70 Iowa Central students will be trading in their usual Friday night routines for the chance to gain perspective. Students in the Social Problems classes will trade in restaurants and warm dorm rooms for cardboard and Mother Nature’s mercy as they spend the night just as a person who was homeless would.
The social experiment, “Think Inside the Box,” will be the first of its type to take place on campus. The point of the experiment is to help raise awareness of homelessness in the state of Iowa and Webster County. Students participating in the experiment will not only be “homeless” for a night, but they will also be raising goods and funds for Beacon of Hope, a homeless shelter in Fort Dodge.
Students will set up their “home” for the evening at 5:30 p.m. in the south parking lot next to the Iowa Workforce Development Agency. Students will stay in their boxes until 6:30 a.m. the next morning. There will be no meals provided, no entertainment and no speakers of any kind. The students will have their box and a blanket.
Students will collect items for donation to Beacon of Hope on Thursday, Oct. 27, the night before the experiment. The shelter is looking for men’s clothing in large sizes and shoes larger than size 10. Also, toiletries, non perishable food items, personal hygiene items, towels and other products are needed. Items can be brought to campus on the 27th or can be taken directly to Beacon of Hope located at 1021 1st Ave N.
According to I-Count, the state-wide Homeless Management Information System, 18,000 people were reported homeless in 2010, with another 25,757 in danger of becoming homeless. Also, the Iowa Initiative for Community Alliance reported that 6,275 children were reported homeless, with 1,392 unaccompanied by an adult.