Tonight a large group of us will be gathering at Blaine High School for a Box City. We are anticipating fifty students from Blaine will be sleeping in boxes on the tennis courts. A number of us from Chain of Lakes will also be sleeping in boxes. The purpose of this event is to lift up the issue of homelessness among teenagers in Anoka County.
The event is starting at 5:00 p.m. We will have a hour program of speakers. Rochelle Carrick from Chain of Lakes will be sharing her story of being a runaway as a teenager. I will also be speaking. Then at 6:15 we will be getting sandwiches and instructions to build a box. I will be relying on the graciousness of strangers to build my box! We'll watch a movie about homelessness, have some other programs and then settle in to sleep. People from Chain of Lakes have been praying for dry weather, and thankfully they were answered. At about 6:00 tomorrow morning we'll get up and have breakfast at Blaine High School. We'll take down our boxes and go home.
One of the objectives of the event is for the students from Blaine High School to have an idea of what it is like to be homeless. They will be attending classes on Friday having had the experience of being homeless for a night.
In preparation for this event I came across the following statistics. Nine hundred twenty five students were identified as homeless in the Anoka-Hennepin School district in the 2013-2014 school year; one hundred sixty eight were identified as unaccompanied youth - kids who are living on their own; forty six students were identified as homeless in Blaine High School in the 2013-2014 school year.
The Box City is part of a partnership between Chain of Lakes Church and Blaine High School. In the past year the gracious people from Chain of Lakes provided food bags for teens during their spring break, raised $1,700 at a Palm Sunday benefit breakfast, and now are providing all the volunteers for Tiger Takeout, the Food Shelf at the school.