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Kids Get Boxed In At Escalon High
From the outside, it looked like a homeless encampment.

From the inside, it was a different kind of slumber party.

Escalon High School students, with counterparts from Edison High in Stockton, made their home for the night Friday at the Escalon High football stadium, putting together makeshift houses out of cardboard boxes.

The event was 'Kids In A Box,' designed to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless. Proceeds from the Escalon event went to Haven of Peace, which is the homeless shelter for women and children in San Joaquin County.

Locally, the group of students worked with the Escalon Sunrise Rotary to coordinate the event and planners were Taylor Finch, Sara Castledine and Brittany New.

"They've been planning it for about six months," said Sally Mantooth, on hand late Friday afternoon as students started arriving and poring over the available cardboard to pick out their 'house.'

"As soon as they did it last year, they wanted to do it again, but they wanted to do it here," she added.

Last year, students went to Stockton and took part in the event hosted by Edison; this year, Edison students came here. The Kids In A Box was also open to elementary age students, though they had to be accompanied by a parent to spend the night on the school grounds.

There were special rules and there was supervision on the grounds throughout the night, in addition to extra police patrols in the area.

"I heard it was fun and I just wanted to play along," sophomore Justin Martinez said as he worked with his mom, Kathy, taping together his makeshift shelter.

Emma Baumhauer, a freshman, said she took part in the event last year in Stockton.

"It was pretty fun and this year, with it in Escalon, it will be even better," she said.

"It's for a good cause," added classmate Hannah Stuyt.

Castledine said she and her co-organizers went out seeking sponsors and financial support for the event during the summer, coordinating food, activities, prizes and more.

"At first people thought it was really weird," she admitted of setting up the homeless camp. "But it's about helping out, having fun and doing some good."

New said the Interact Club at the high school, in cooperation with the Rotary, has donated a lot of time to Haven of Peace and were eager to continue helping.