The annual Cardboard City event in Palmer aims to raise awareness of homelessness and raise money for Family Promise to support the homeless in the Mat-Su.
A number of churches including St. Michael’s in Palmer and Sacred Heart in Wasilla support Family Promise and take shifts in opening their parishes to house the homeless.
The Cardboard City gathering aims to find 200 volunteers to spend the night in a cardboard box from Friday night on July 15 to Saturday morning on July 16.
The event will be held on the south side of the Alaska State Fairgrounds, near the Green entrance.
In solidarity with the homeless, the event will take place regardless of rain or cold weather and tarps are encouraged.
Participants are asked to gather pledges from family and friends to raise funds for the homeless. Children are welcome to participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children under 10 years of age must have a parent or guardian sleeping with them in a box and youth groups require a ratio of one adult to five or fewer youths.
Participants should bring a shelter and duct tape. Boxes will also be available on-site. Other items to bring include a sleeping bag, pillow and quiet games. Items not allowed include electronics, pets, alcohol, weapons or food. Any food brought in will be considered a donation to the local food pantry.
In building the cardboard shelters attendees are encouraged to be crafty as there will be a “most creative box” contest at the event. The evening will also include a serving of soup and bread, guitars and singing, stories of homelessness and a t-shirt to remember the event. Registration begins at 5 p.m. at the Alaska Fairgrounds in Palmer.
According to a press release by Family Promise, since opening in 2005 the organization has provided more than 29.000 shelter nights. The group also notes that 50 percent of the homeless population it serves is children under the age of 18 with 62 of these children under age six.