last night 23 high school kids made shelters from cardboard boxes on the front lawn of our church. our first official lock OUT. the idea was to sleep outside in boxes in an effort to bring attention to homelessness in our community the night before the annual homeless awareness walk. the idea came about last spring or summer, though, in much warmer weather.
i don’t think anyone expected the 16 degree chill.
parents called the church saying their child couldn’t come (that’s fine). our numbers dropped a little.
but 23 brave souls still showed up.
and so did 4 news trucks.
a few events in the evening that helped drive the point home:
1. mark, a homeless neighbor, came to the church to share his story and answer the kids questions. he gave us pointers on how to set up our boxes. he told us the key is to keep your hands, feet and head warm. he said he had no idea we were actually going to sleep outside ALL night, and he was so touched by what we were doing. gayle, a homeless lady i ran into at the coffee shop said the same thing, as did the mother of a homeless family sleeping IN our church last night. their appreciation made it a little easier to bare the cold with my kids.
2. one of our youth has been interviewing homeless people for two years, working on her gold award project for girl scouts. we watched a documentary she had put together. it was cool for the kids to hear from one of their peers how they can make a difference.
when all was said and done, 1 kid went home early, 13 kids went into the sanctuary (all curled up around the altar… pretty cute), and 9 kids braved the cold all night… along with 3 adults.
and then we walked 5k.
and then i went to class, fell asleep during the lecture, and got sent home 🙂