Janesville32.1°

The reality of homelessness

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GINA R. HEINE
April 26, 2008
— No amount of duct tape or cardboard could create a warm bed just like at home, but a group of Edgerton kids didn’t seem to mind.

That was before the sun set, and they crawled into their makeshift homes to sleep in temperatures dipping into the mid-30s Saturday night.


“I feel like the weather tonight is good,” said the Rev. Erica Adams, the church’s associate pastor, because it shows what homeless people really have to deal with.


Adams and the 14 kids of Central Lutheran Church braved the weather to experience what it would be like to be homeless for the annual Shanty Town fund-raiser.


Participants collect pledges to support their overnight experience, then build their overnight home with cardboard and tape. Funds raised from the event benefit the Rock County Habitat for Humanity with matching funds from Thrivent Financial.


The evening started with a dinner following the theme—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with instant soup served in Styrofoam cups.


“People who live on the street have a hard time,” said Jasmine Weiss, 15.


Weiss asked teachers and friends for donations and raised $13.85, she said.


“I figured it was for a good cause,” she said.


While the kids said the event is fun because they get to hang out with their friends, play games and stay up late, they admit it’s not something they’d want to have to do.


“I don’t want to live like this,” said 12-year-old Isaac Hanson.


Another delivery of blankets arrived before dark from a dad to the overnight home of Marissa Ramirez, 11, Rylee Karman, 10, and Tess Klein, 10. The girls built the tallest structure—nearly 5 feet high—among the homes built in the courtyard area outside the church.


The girls said the fund raiser is teaching them what it’s like for people who don’t have a home.


“I just want to do it for the experience,” Marissa said.



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